C/2012 S1 Ison meets Spica, Alpha Virginis: 18 Nov. 2013

 

Comet Ison and Spica: 18 Nov. , 04:30 UT as visible from Rome but indicative for a wide range of locations

Comet Ison and Spica: 18 Nov. , 04:30 UT as visible from Rome but indicative for a wide range of locations

While heading toward the Sun, comet Ison is harder and harder to catch now in the morning twilight. These are likely the last hours to spot it before it will brushes the Sun, leaving us with the hope of a memorable (at least, fair) show.

In the early hours of 18 Nov., comet Ison will be in the same spot of the sky as Spica, the bright Alpha Virginis. This could be a nice opportunity to find the comet for those not very familiar with the sky: it will be enough to easily find Spica and the comet will be within 0.5 degrees from it.

Keep in mind that the comet will be very low (about 10 deg.) above the horizon, for many observers, at the beginning of the morning astronomical twilight. So be sure to have a free skyline in its direction. Also, a binocular can help in finding the comet, likely at mag. 5.0 or so.

Above is a map made plotted with TheSkySix for a location at +41deg and 15deg E, at the beginning of the twilight, giving an idea of what is waiting for you out there.

If you have clear skies, don’t miss this opportunity. As we do not know what will happen to comet Ison in the near future, these could be the last chances to see it in good shape.

 

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