Big Sunspot Group Turns Earth’s Way / Comet ISON Photo A False Alarm

We knew it was big even when it rounded the sun’s limb two days ago, but now that sunspot group 1944 has rotated into clear view, we can truly appreciate its enormity. Based on my rough estimate, the largest spot in the group is now easily 40,000 miles across or five times the diameter of…
Read More

Comet ISON Update Dec. 21 – Hubble Searches, Sees Nada

NASA brought the big gun to bear on our lost comet. On December 18, the Hubble Space Telescope slewed to Comet ISON’s expected position and found nothing down to magnitude 25. ┬áThat’s 100 million┬átimes fainter than the faintest star visible with the naked eye. According to astronomer Hal Weaver, who planned the ISON picture session,…
Read More

Comet ISON Update Dec. 10 – Meteor Shower In The Offing?

Comet ISON has left the eyes of spacecraft for the moment and now challenges amateur and professional astronomers from the ground. To date, there has been only one positive observation by an amateur astronomer in Spain and a couple “maybes”. Many have tried to see and photograph the comet’s faint remains, but none have been…
Read More

Comet ISON Update Dec. 7 – Possible Sightings, New Map

Yesterday morning I dressed for subzero chill to look at comets Lovejoy and Nevski, Mars and a faint supernova in the constellation Leo. Although my hour under the stars didn’t lack in astronomical pleasures, I couldn’t help thinking about ISON. This week was supposed to be the start of that comet’s grand entry into the…
Read More

Comet ISON Update Dec. 4 – A Stubborn Fellow

Comet ISON lives! OK, it might be on life support, but the comet written off as dead a week ago still glows in recent 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…
Read More