Low-resolution image from one of the cameras on STEREO-A taken on Dec. 1. Called a “beacon image” it’s a frame from a 24-hour daily stream of data from the spacecraft. Credit: NASA
Comet ISON lives! OK, it might be on life support, but the comet written off as dead a week ago remains visible in photos taken by the STEREO-A cameras. While no one’s seen it from the ground yet, we’re getting close to that opportunity.
This Saturday Dec. 7 the comet will appear very low in the southeastern sky for a brief period just before the start of morning twilight. I doubt anyone will see it with their eyeballs but intrepid astrophotographers are eager to photograph it.
High resolution photo from STEREO-A’s H1 heliospheric imager camera showing Comet ISON on Dec. 1. Although taken at the same time, it appears fainter here. Differences in picture quality and exposure are probably why. Credit: NASA
Based on these photos, the latest I could find, ISON shines about as brightly as the nebulosity in and around the Pleiades star cluster. Not bright by any stretch, small telescopes will still show the brightest parts of the cluster’s cocoon-like nebula from a dark sky. That’s my educated guess on the comet’s potential visibility. Hopefully we’ll see photos and magnitude estimates from the ground very soon.
One comet remains bright – Lovejoy. It’s traveling through the constellation Bootes in the wee hours before dawn and can still be viewed in binoculars. Click HERE for a finder map.
Watch for a very young crescent moon at dusk this evening. It will be less than a day old seen from much of the U.S. This map shows the sky facing southwest about 30 minutes after sunset when the moon will about 5 degrees high seen from mid-northern latitudes. Stellarium
While winds and snow in my neck of the woods guarantee an overcast night, you might be more fortunate. If so, I encourage you to look for a very young and thin lunar crescent at dusk tonight. For U.S. skywatchers the moon will be anywhere from 21.5 hours old (East Coast) to 24.5 hours old (West Coast) and visible between 20-45 minutes after sundown 4-5 degrees high in the southwest.
You can use the planet Venus, now moderately low in the southwestern sky, and the sunset point, where the lingering glow along the western horizon is brightest, to help you pinpoint the moon.
A 24-hour old crescent on May 14, 2010 – one of the youngest moons I’ve ever seen. Credit: Bob King
Not many people get to see a crescent that’s only a day (or less) old and few things in the heavens are as beautiful. The moon looks frail and fragile enough to simply dissolve into the sky – a sight you won’t soon forget. You’ll need an open horizon to the southwest, clear skies and pair of binoculars to fall back on.
As you study the moon in binoculars, you’ll notice right away the skinny arc isn’t smooth but ragged or broken along its length. These seeming breaks are caused by oblique lighting on crater walls and mountain peaks creating shadows long enough to bite into and hide portions of the moon’s edge.
Another very thin crescent on Jan. 5, 2011. Credit: Bob King
While spotting a day-old moon takes a little effort, anything under 20 hours requires careful planning as the moon is that much thinner, closer to the horizon and sets even earlier. The record for youngest moon spotted with the naked eye goes writer and amateur astronomer Steven James O’Meara, who nabbed a 15 hour 32 minute crescent in May 1990.
Theirry Legault’s famous youngest moon ever photographed through his telescopes on July 8, 2013. Click to learn more how he did it. Credit: Thierry Legault
West Coast skywatchers have the opportunity to challenge that record on Jan. 1, 2014. New moon occurs at 3:15 a.m. Pacific Time that day; by sunset (5 p.m.) the crescent will be just 14 hours old fifteen minutes after sunset. Tough one! That’s why it’s OK to cheat using binoculars. The record for youngest moon ever seen with optical aid goes to Mohsen G. Mirsaeed of Tehran on September 7, 2002 at just 11 hours 40 minutes past new.
The ultimate record, which will never be broken, is 0 hours past new. It was set July 8 this year when French astrophotographer Thierry Legault photographed the new moon in the middle of the day. No, he never saw it with his eye; only the camera recorded the unique moment.
A peek through the scraped and dinged up wheels of the Curiosity Rover taken with the close-up Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera Nov. 30, 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
I enjoy kicking back and looking over photos taken from other planets. There’s no better way to leave the Earth behind – if only for an hour – than digging through the archives. One of my favorite hangouts is the Mars Curiosity Rover raw image page. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you already know how much I like sharing my favorite finds.
A field of little rocks embedded in soil photographed on Nov. 30. It’s currently mid-autumn in Mars’ southern hemisphere. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Curiosity landed at 4.5 degrees south latitude inside Gale Crater, placing it firmly in planet’s equatorial zone. Since the tilt of Mars’ axis is 25.2 degrees, nearly the same as Earth’s, the noonday sun is always high in the sky at Curiosity’s location just as it is for folks living near Earth’s equator. Would that the temperature would follow suit. Average daily temperatures in Gale Crater have ranged from -20 F (-29 C) during the day to -120 F (-85 C) at night in recent weeks.
View of nearby ridge with either the rim of Gale Crater or the foothills of the crater’s central peak Mt. Sharp on Nov. 29. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Mars’ atmosphere is too thin and its surface too dry to hold onto heat very long. Once the sun is up, the air temperature warms rapidly but then plummets after sunset. Still, -120 F isn’t all that bad. It’s still a tad warmer, at least for the moment, than -128.6 F (-89.2 C), the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth at the (then) Soviet station at Vostok, Antarctica on July 20, 1983.
The wheels of the rover nudged a rock from its ancient resting place on Nov. 30, 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
It’s great to see Curiosity back up and running after engineers suspended science activities in mid-November when what appeared to be an internal shortin its power source was discovered. Luckily the minor electrical problem didn’t affect the rover’s capabilities. Curiosity continues its trek to Mt. Sharp, the layered mountain at Gale Crater’s center, while at the same time examining powdered rock sample gathered six months ago.
Click on any image to see a much-enlarged version perfect for at-home exploring.
Image showing the foothills of Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater on Nov. 29, 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Eroded rock layers photographed on Nov. 1, 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Fang-like rock feature photographed on Nov. 2, 2013. Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The U.S. on the night of Oct. 1, 2013 photographed by the Suomi-NPP satellite from 512 miles high. Light clouds cover the region from Minneapolis across northern Wisconsin. Click for a supersized version you can dig into and find your city. Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon
On Oct. 1 this year – a rare, almost cloud-free night across the continental United States – NASA snapped a series of natural light photos of the country with the Suomi-NPP satellite. The satellite orbits 512 miles (824 km) high in a polar orbit and is named for the late Verner Suomi, a pioneer in satellite meteorology.
Suomi-NPP satellite views showing Earth at night – narrated
Unlike many communications satellites, which orbit around Earth’s equator, Suomi-NPP circles the planet from pole to pole. As Earth rotates beneath it, the satellite sees a different slice of the planet each orbit. Over time, all the slices add up to give Suomi a complete picture of the Earth below.
Click image to go to a scroll-able map comparing U.S. highways with their night appearance.
That night, not only was it mostly clear across the U.S. but the moon was three days before new. The little bit of light it cast was not enough to illuminated the ground or atmosphere, allowing for good contrast between lights and landscape.
The rapid growth of lighting in the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota shows up clearly in this cropped version of the photo above. Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon
Cities large and small stand out while highways festoon the darkness like strings of holiday lights. I’m always intrigued by the latest images of Earth at night because they let us gauge how bright our planet is becoming. One of the most appalling examples of recent light pollution comes from oil drilling and exploration in the Bakken formation in western North Dakota. A dozen years ago it was one of the darkest places on the planet. Now lights spread across more than a 100 miles (160 km) of high prairie.
You may have noticed a change in lighting type in your own city. Most roads and byways are illuminated by pink-orange high pressure sodium lights. They work well when boxed in shielded housings that focus the light downward onto the streets where it’s needed. Unfortunately, many sodium lights are unshielded, sending light sideways and upward. Light in those directions not only creates unwanted glare but seriously brightens the night sky, robbing many of the joy of stargazing.
Comparison of lighting colors and intensity of the new LED streetlights (left) and the older high-pressure sodium vapor lamps. Both these lamps are shielded – the photos were taken from very similar angles to show the difference in intensity. Credit: Bob King
Recently, much more energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights are now being packaged in ornamental as well as standard streetlighting. I’ve seen the change in my own city of Duluth, Minn. While these lights have tremendous energy benefits, they are INTENSELY bright, much more so than the “old-fashioned” sodiums.
As long as they’re shielded, light spill and glare are relatively well-controlled (though light reflected off snow becomes a bigger problem), but I’m concerned that low-cost LEDs will proliferate in ornamental and building and parking lot illumination. Much of that lighting is unshielded and heavy on glare, making driving at night more difficult and preserving what dark sky is left more challenging.
I encourage you to learn all you can about the new lighting and work with you local city councils and town boards to explain how LED lighting can be used wisely to make everyone happy – stargazers, drivers and those who walk at night. For help and more information, drop by the International Dark-Sky Associationwebsite.
Just a brief update today. Comet ISON has left the eyes of SOHO, but it’s still there in STEREO-Athrough Dec. 7 and possibly longer if NASA decides to roll the spacecraft for a better view in the coming days. I checked today but no recent, high-res photos have been uploaded yet. I’ll post them when they arrive. You can still see the comet in the low-resolution picture below.
Comet ISON in a low-resolution photo taken by NASA’s STEREO-A solar probe at 3:18 p.m. today Dec.1. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA
The last we saw of ISON, it continued to expand and fade on its outbound journey. We should know in a few days what it looks like from Earth’s skies when astrophotographers will be out in force attempting to record and see the comet’s dusty remains.
Amazing montage showing how the changes in Comet ISON’s brightness and shape between Sept. 24 and Nov. 15, 2013. Click to enlarge. Credit: Damian Peach
Meantime, enjoy this wonderful compilation of SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) pictures taken with its two coronagraphs – LASCO C2 and C3 – and assembled by Pieter-Jan Dekelver from Belgium. Notice how much faster the comet moves when closest to the sun when ISON feels the sun’s gravitational force most strongly.
The International Astronomical Union published an electronic telegram No. 3731 today Dec. 1 with blow-by-blow scientific observations of ISON’s evolution during perihelion. Here’s a quick summary of the results:
* The comet’s nucleus disrupted hours before perihelion with the comet’s head fading from -2 magnitude (just shy of Jupiter’s brightness) to well below +1 magnitude shortly before perihelion.
* What remains after perihelion is a diffuse cloud of dust from the nucleus mostly transparent to the background stars. Late on Nov. 30 the main part of the cloud spanned about 1/2 degree and glowed weakly at magnitude 5.4.
* Z. Sekanina of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studying SOHO images, determined that ISON stopped producing dust 3 hours before perihelion. This jives with the photos taken shortly after perihelion showing that a sharp tip had replaced the larger, rounded nucleus.
* The nucleus or core of the comet is thought to have fragmented shortly before a sudden surge in brightness seen nearly 12 hours prior to perihelion.
* ISON’s post-perihelion, sunward-pointing tail may be composed of dust grains released 1-2 days before perihelion, while the eastward pointing tail (sticking out to the left of the comet) was made of dust released within an hour of perihelion and likely composed of graphite and metals.The streamer of much larger dust grains ejected long before the comet was near the sun completely disappeared during the comet’s near-brush with the sun.
The Chinese moon rover “Jade Rabbit” will explore the moon for at least 3 months after landing on Dec. 14. The rover will be equipped with a camera, an instrument to determine the chemical element composition of lunar rocks and a radar device on its underside to measure lunar soil depths. Credit: Glen Nagle
In Chinese folklore, the familiar spots Westerners see as the face of the man in the moon instead outline Yutu the Jade Rabbit. A robotic version of Yutu successfully launched to the moon today at 11:30 a.m. CST (1:30 a.m. Dec. 2 China time). The mission, named Chang’e-3 after the female Chinese moon goddess, marks China’s first attempt at landing a probe on another world. If successful, it will be the first soft-landing on the moon since the 1976 Russian Luna-24 sample return mission.
Today’s liftoff of the Chang’e-3 mission to the moon
The Jade Rabbit’s likeness in the moon. Credit: Wikipedia
After setting down near the 5.6-mile-wide (9 km) crater Laplace A in the Bay of Rainbows or Sinus Iridium on Dec. 14, the 265-pound (120 kg) rover will roll of a the lander’s ramp and onto the lunar surface. Powered by solar cells, Yutu is expected to operate for at least 3 months and explore within a 3-miles (5 km) radius of the lander.
Meanwhile the lander will serve as a stationary science station and run off electricity generated by Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs). RTGs convert the heat radiated by the decay of plutonium-238 into electricity.
The lander will touch down in a picturesque part of the moon called Sinus Iridium or Bay of Rainbows near the crater Laplace A. The bay, a 160-mile-wide lava-flooded, relic crater, is easily visible in a pair of binoculars from waxing gibbous through last quarter phase. Credit: John Chumack (left) and NASA.
The lander is equipped with seven instruments and cameras for studying the lunar environment. The main instrument is a telescope for viewing the sky in near-ultraviolet light. With no atmosphere to filter UV out, scientists will photograph galaxies, stars and the Earth.
Apollo 17 Astronaut Jack Schmitt with Earth in the background. Credit: NASA / Eugene Cernan
It’s only a hope, but wouldn’t it be nice if mission control uses either the rover or lander cameras to make a few time exposures of the perpetually dark lunar sky, preferably with the Earth in the frame. As long as we’re there, wouldn’t you like to see our planet’s globe suspended among the stars of another world?
After landing, the rover will “walk” down a ramp from the lander to explore the moon. Its six wheels can be steered individually much like NASA’s Curiosity Rover.
While the Apollo astronauts photographed the Earth from the moon’s surface, they only captured the bright planet, not the stars. To do that would have required a time exposure and tripod, a task (and equipment) not on their list of a million things to do in the short time they spent on the moon.
Scale model of Yutu or Jade Rabbit rover shown at an industry fair in Shanghai in November. Credit: Reuters
Jade Rabbit will also use its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on a robotic arm to zap lunar rocks with alpha particles (helium nuclei) and X-rays and measure what’s scattered back to determine their elemental composition. It will also take pictures, shoot real-time video and carries a ground-penetrating radar device in its belly for measuring lunar soil depths down to 98 feet (30 m) and moon’s rocky crust to almost 1000 feet (300 m).
I’ll leave you with this lovely image of the moon accompanied by Saturn (above) and Mercury (lower left) over the Potomac River taken this morning Dec. 1, 2013 by Bill Paisley, one of our readers. Just think, we’ll be “getting our feet dirty” there in just two weeks. Copyright: Bill Paisley
Yutu can explore on its own but will be controlled and guided from Earth when necessary. The Chang’e-3 mission was preceded by the Chang’e 1 and 2 lunar orbiters and will be followed by a sample return flight and ultimately by a manned moon landing of taikonauts, the Chinese word for astronauts from the Cantonese ‘taikon’ or cosmos.
A very nice conjunction/pairing of the moon, Mercury and Saturn happens tomorrow morning Dec. 1. This map shows the sky facing southeast 45 minutes before sunrise. Stellarium
Feeling well rested? If your answer is yes, I invite you to spend some of your sleep surplus watching a wonderful celestial gathering tomorrow morning. Mercury, Saturn and a very thin crescent moon will bunch up low in the southeastern sky at mid-dawn.
The crescent, just a day and half before new, passes almost directly between the two planets some 2 degrees below Saturn and 3 degrees to the right of Mercury. To see the trio, find a place with a wide-open vista to the east-southeast and start looking about an hour before sunrise.
As always, bring binoculars to help out in case Mercury’s too low to see at first. A little bit of optical aid will also show the full outline of the moon more clearly. This dim part of the lunar globe is illuminated by sunlight reflected off Earth or earthshine.
ISS astronauts, including guitar-playing Chris Hadfield, in festive spirits last Christmas. Credit: NASA
The International Space Station (ISS) got a visit this week from the Russian cargo craft Progress 53 Friday. The unmanned delivery vehicle ferried 2.9 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the station crew, including 1,763 pounds of propellant, 48 pounds of oxygen, 57 pounds of air, 925 pounds of water and 3,119 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and holiday gifts.
Last month, the ISS cruised the morning skies. Now it’s back in the evening for many locations and easier to see at dusk. But only for a few brief nights. I’ve listed all evening pass times for the Duluth, Minn. region below, but you can always find out when and where it flies over your house simply by dropping by Heavens-Above or typing in your zip code on Spaceweather’s Satellite Flybys page.
The station travels from west to east and can take anywhere from a couple minutes to 5 minutes to cross the sky depending on its angle to the horizon. A small telescope magnifying around 40x will easily show the shape of the ISS if you’re quick enough to track it.
* Tonight Nov. 30 starting at 7:35 p.m. Low, brief pass above the planet Venus in the southwestern sky. Maximum altitude: 33 degrees. One fist held at arm’s length equals 10 degrees.
* Sunday Dec. 1 at 6:46 p.m. Bright pass from southwest to southeast. Max. altitude: 42 degrees
* Monday Dec. 2 at 7:35 p.m. Very low pass across the western sky. Max. altitude: 14 degrees
* Tuesday Dec. 3 at 6:45 p.m. Travels from southwest to north-northeast. Low. Max. altitude: 32 degrees
Comet ISON is little more than an expanding dust cloud as it heads away from the sun this morning. SOHO image. Click to see a video of the past 3 days of ISON’s travels around the sun. Credit: NASA/ESA
Yes, the comet’s still there, but it’s been transformed into a blizzard of dust. Our hopes for a bright comet at Christmas appear to have gone up in smoke. Or have they?
Space-based cameras show an expanding dust cloud with two tails. According to Hermann Böhnhardt from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the tail pointing back at the sun is made of dust particles shed before the comet made its close brush with the sun Thursday, while the other is more recent dust vaporized from whatever was left of ISON’s nucleus during perihelion passage.
Comet ISON photographed in the COR2-B coronagraph from NASA’s STEREO-B solar probe on Nov. 29. Jupiter is left of the sun. Credit: NASA
The solid nucleus, estimated at 1.5 mile-wide (3 km) across, once provided a steady supply of vaporizing dust and gas. It’s now crumbled to pieces, and those pieces are vaporizing away in the sun’s to create an expanding cloud that’s fading by the hour.
Another view of the comet in the COR2-A coronagraph on the STEREO-A sun probe on Nov. 29. Venus is left of the sun. Credit: NASA
This morning ISON glows around magnitude 5, making a naked eye sighting increasingly unlikely in the coming days. There’s still a remote chance the comet’s engine will fire up again like Comet C/1962 C1 Seki-Lines did in April 1962. During perihelion, Seki-Lines was expected to brighten to -7 magnitude but instead it totally dropped off the map only to reappear a few days later as bright as Jupiter. Could ISON do the same?
Should ISON continue to fade as expected, it may take a fair-sized telescope to see it in the morning sky. We’ll have to wait longer to make the attempt because a dark sky will be needed to see a low-contrast object like a “cloud”. ISON will appear in a dark sky – but very low – around Dec. 7.
You might wonder if the rocks and dust in the expanding cloud have any chance of producing a meteor shower or worse, pose a threat to Earth. The answer is no. Whatever is left of the comet will continue following the same orbit it’s been following and will not come near the planet. ISON’s ghost will pass a very safe 39 million miles from Earth on Dec. 26.
I like to picture whatever chunks of ice are left over as unexploded ordinance. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a temporary re-brightening as fresh surfaces get pounded by sunlight and vaporize, but given ISON’s talent for defying predictions, we shouldn’t count on it. Still, the comet may have other tricks up its sleeve. Let’s watch and wait.
Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1 Lovejoy) at 2:30 a.m. this morning Nov. 29, 2013. The comet was faintly visible with the naked eye and a pretty sight in binoculars. Details: 70-second exposure, ISO 800, 70mm f/2.8 on a tracking mount. Credit: Bob King
In the furor of following Comet ISON, we’ve almost lost track of another fine, fuzzy fellow – Comet Lovejoy. Last we checked in on this comet during the first half of November, it had swelled to almost half a degree in diameter with a 2-degree-long tail. From a dark sky the comet was even bright enough to glimpse with the naked eye in moonlight.
This map shows Comet Lovejoy every three days Nov. 30 to Dec. 30 about 2 hours before sunrise in the eastern sky. Click to enlarge. Created with Chris Marriott’s SkyMap software
I’m here to tell you it’s still all of those things. With the moon out of the sky, I could see Lovejoy without difficulty with the naked eye near the star Gamma in the constellation Bootes below the handle of the Big Dipper early this morning. It looked like a small fuzzy blob of magnitude 4.6.
Comet Lovejoy through a 200mm telephoto lens on a tracking mount this morning. Credit: Bob King
10×50 binoculars really did the comet justice. With them a beautiful, gossamer tail stretched across half the field of view or about 2.5 degrees. One degree is the amount of sky you can cover with your pinkie finger held at arm’s length. The photos closely match my visual impression of the tail through the 10x50s.
Beautiful pairing of Comet Lovejoy and the galaxy M63 on Nov. 25, 2013. Click to enlarge. Credit: Damian Peach
Through a 15-inch telescope at low magnification, Lovejoy’s monster-sized head (just under half a degree, the diameter of a full moon) glowed pale blue-green highlighted by a bright, fuzzy dot at its center – the false nucleus. The real comet nucleus always remains hidden in its wraps of dust and gas.
Closeup of Comet Lovejoy’s false nucleus (dot) with a plume of dust sticking out to the left on Nov. 12, 2013. Credit: Luc Arnold
Upping the magnification to 287x, a striking, funnel-shaped fan of dust issued from the false nucleus to the south-southeast. This feature has been a regular part of Lovejoy’s anatomy for at least the past few weeks. I urge observers with 6-inch and larger telescopes to take a look. This amazing jet of dusty material boiling off the comet’s nucleus won’t be visible forever. Use high power and bore right into the coma’s center.
Comet Lovejoy clears the horizon around 1 a.m. (I know -ouch!) but you’ll see it best between 2:30 and the start of dawn when it’s better placed. The comet passed closest to Earth on Nov. 20 – that’s why it’s still bright. As it moves away from Earth it will gradually get dimmer, which makes the coming two moonless weeks the best time to seize the opportunity.
No one knows yet if Comet ISON will survive to become visible in the dawn sky in December. Assuming the best case, here’s a map to help you find the comet as it treks through Ophiuchus, Serpens and into Hercules from Dec. 3-15. The map shows the sky 45 minutes before sunrise for mid-northern latitudes (42 degrees N. specifically) facing east-southeast. The planet positions are shown for Dec. 3. Mercury will soon depart the morning sky. Key stars near the comet’s path are labeled. Click to enlarge. Stellarium
Granted it’s a long shot, but there’s a chance we could still see Comet ISON in the morning sky very soon. Many of you tried to find the comet before perihelion and got skunked either by bad weather, bright twilight and ISON’s overall weak performance.
Comet ISON this morning at 9:14 a.m. CST photographed by the ever-diligent SOHO coronagraph. Credit: NASA/ESA
Today it appears somewhat brighter than Antares in Scorpius, maybe about magnitude 0. While still too close to the sun to see at that brightness and likely to fade further in the coming days, the next opportunity to see it with our own eyes will be around Dec. 3. That’s when ISON might be high enough in the dawn sky to punch through the horizon haze and twilight glow. On the bright side, there will be no moon to glare up the sky.
The most idealistic among you might try for the comet as soon as Sunday morning Dec. 1. This map shows the sky 45 minutes before sunrise seen from mid-northern latitudes (42 degrees north specifically) facing east-southeast. Even if you miss ISON, the lineup of Mercury, Saturn and a super thin crescent moon should be ample reward for your trouble. Stellarium
With that in mind and forever optimistic – one of the “curses” of being an amateur astronomers – I’ve prepared a couple chart to help you find ISON … one more time. My fellow amateurs and I here in Duluth, Minn. will be out. Nothing like the chill of a December dawn to awaken the senses. I hope you’ll try too.
To attempt an ISON observation, find a place with a wide open horizon to the east-southeast and use binoculars. As the days tick by, the comet will quickly rise higher in the sky, the exact opposite of its performance in mid-November. By about Dec. 7, you can look for the comet in a dark sky 1 1/2 hours before sunrise. Good luck on Round 2!
Nice composite image of Comet ISON making its hairpin turn around the sun yesterday Nov. 28. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/SDO/GSFC