New Simulator Shows Comet ISON’s Perilous Journey From Earth’s Perspective

Screen grab from the Comet ISON interactive simulator showing the comet’s position from my home at 10:18 a.m. today Nov. 20. Credit: INOVE

In September I wrote about the Comet ISON simulator created by INOVE Virtual Environments. The beautifully rendered, interactive portrayal of the comet’s sweep through the solar system helped viewers understand how ISON orbited the sun from a variety of perspectives.

The company recently upgraded the simulator to show how ISON looks from the point of view of someone standing on Earth looking back. Now you can see where it is in the sky from anywhere on the planet, making it not only nice to look at but useful for finding the comet. Screen-grab the image and print it out to help you locate the comet. Since stars are shown to about magnitude 5, the simulator can be used for maps well into December.

Comet ISON at perihelion in the afternoon sky on Nov. 28, 2013. Credit: INOVE

Click HERE to go to the site and then set your location by pressing the Location button in the upper right corner. The single arrow play button (lower left) shows the horizon line with the stars, sun, moon and comet rising and setting over a single day.

Pressing the double arrow fast-forward button shows changes in position one day after another. You can also manually set the day by dragging the white arrow along the timeline at the bottom of the page. If you’ve had your fill of the Earth viewpoint, toggle back to the solar system view by pressing the Switch to Space button in the upper left corner of your screen.

Comet ISON up close on Nov. 19 by Joe Brimacombe. Click to watch the animation.

Another item I want to share with you is Joe Brimacombe’s excellent Comet ISON animation compiled with photos taken on Nov. 19. Brimacombe lives in Cairns, Australia but takes many of his photos remotely using an automated telescope in New Mexico. I know you’ll enjoy it.

4 Responses

  1. Sean

    how lucky 4 us in the US that (incase of naked eye visiblilty) ISON rises around the same time as the sun (rather than, say, underneath it, (altho by West Coast maybe getting toward below,) and then sets ABOVE the sun! Fantastic! And i hope it survives, is bright, and that there is clear weather. Right now my local forecast indicates Thanksgiving sun. Still a few days off tho. Good luck all.

  2. Giorgio Rizzarelli

    Fun and useful sim, you can also change time by grabbing the comet or a planet. The photo animation is great, much work put into it.

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