Comet ISON Update by Chris Hendren
October, 2013 -
Well, another month has gone by and Comet ISON continues its headlong plunge toward the inner solar system. After leaving the glare of the sun, the comet was reacquired photographically by an amateur astronomer but has now been photographed in more detail by several amateur and professional telescopes. There is still some debate about what its peak brightness will be next month. NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign is noting a range of between -7 and +5 magnitude, but with a current educated guess of -3 to -5 at perihelion on November 28.
In October, Comet ISON will brighten from around magnitude 11 to about magnitude 8 - becoming an easy visual target for amateur telescopes in the 4" to 8" range and possibly even large astronomical binoculars. It is already showing a notable tail and greenish color in amateur images, including this shot by longtime friend and former technician for OPT, Pat Knoll:
Whatever is in store for ISON, you can bet that there will be thousands of images taken with all types of astronomical equipment, making this one of the best studied comets in history.
- Chris Hendren (OPT)