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.
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.
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!