Comet C/2012 S1 Ison: latest updates – 28 Nov. 2013
Comet C/2012 S1 Ison is now shining at about mag. -3 in LASCO C3 images from space. The comet showed a spectacular brightening trend since it entered the LASCO C3 field of view.
In the image above, the comet is by far the brightest source in the field of view, at hour 4 from the center (Sun), and it is clearly saturating the camera, as evident from the with white, blooming streak crossing the comet’s “head”.
Comet Ison will reach its perihelion later today and these next hours are very important to judge any possible future (spectacular?) visibility from Earth in the next days.
Important Note: be VERY careful if you will attempt to look for comet ISON at daytime, while it ios close to the Sun. Observing the Sun even accidentally, by naked eye and any other not specific solar screen, can result in permanent damage of your eyes!
Updates: On 27 Nov. at IRAM emission for HCN I was marginally detected around 10-12 UT.
While it is now one day before perihelion, comet C/2012 S1 Ison is still keeping astronomers uncertain about its fate. For sure, the comet is now much less active than hoped, possibly even exhausted, but it is still hard to predict what will happen in the next few days.
Meanwhile, comet Ison is not visible from ground-based optical telescopes, so space probes are now very important to monitor the evolution of this long awaited dirty snowball. In particular, the comet is visible by the STEREO and Soho spacecrafts and they will be the only available instruments to closely follow the critical perihelion passage.
Above is a movie made with images from Soho/Lasco C3 coronograph: comet Ison is at hour four and approaching the Sun. Image of 12:42 UT seems to show an hint of saturation, that would mean the comet is bright (a lot of saturation would suggest a comet visible at daytime): a close monitoring is urged at this time! (To see the animation, just click on the still image).
Below, is a movie showing comet Ison (and the fainter comet Encke), as images by the STEREO A probe: click on the image for the movie we did from still images.
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