The thin crescent Moon and Venus were just visible after sunset heralded a clear evening.
Unfortunately too low to image from the garden before they set.
It turned out to be a glorious winters evening, clear and cold.
I couldn’t resist making the most of the dark evening without a moon (or clouds for a change) to do some deep sky imaging.
What a great night out in the dome. Even the technology worked first time.
While was are wiping away the tears about what could have been with Comet ISON, Comet Lovejoy is still giving us a good show. Currently in Northern Boötes, it is starting to fade, but still bright enough to auto-guide on the nucleus.
This is the result of 30 x 90 second images taken through my 190 Mac-Newt using my trusty Nikon D5100.
There is still a lot of detail to be seen within it, and it was just visible with the naked eye from my light polluted garden.
I finished the session and could just see the Moon and Saturn poking up above the neighbours houses. A very thin crescent not too far away from Saturn. LOVELY!
My Monthly guide to the night sky is available for download from my Web site.
I just picked this full animation up on Youtube and just had to share it.
Is that an active volatile comet that re-appeared, or is it just a cloud of leftover debris?
I’m sure we will find out in due course.
It seems that the overnight reports of Comet ISON’s demise have been a little bit premature.
It does look as if something has made the tortuous passage through perihelion.
It looks like a fan-shaped remnant has survived, possibly sporting both a dust and an ion tail.
An added bonus is that it is still looking reasonably bright.
It is certainly brighter than the 1st magnitude star Antares seen towards the bottom left of the SOHO image shown below.
Don’t you love it when something puts all the experts theories back into the melting pot for a re-think?
It might not be as spectacular as it could have been from here on, but it is certainly not looking like a dead comet at the moment.
What is left won’t be easily visible for at least a week until it emerges from the Sun’s glare and moves back into the morning eastern sky.
So there is still a chance that we could still get a very nice display from this comet during December and still some interest into the New Year.
But don’t forget about all the other comets on display at the moment, especially Lovejoy.
ISON is looking pretty healthy in the images being returned by the SOHO solar observation satellites.
Some say it is already at magnitude -3 and increasing rapidly.
Fingers crossed it continues and we get some clearer skies later in the week to view whatever emerges from the Sun’s glare.
So comet ISON is now out of sight from Earth and due to pass close to the Sun on Thursday 28th of November.
There is a lot of conflicting information and speculation floating around about the fate of the comet. These range from it having fragmented and dying to still going strong. It appears to be a very dymanic and constantly changing situation, so don’t write it off yet.
Whatever happens make sure that you get out and have a look after Thursday.
Where to look?
On the 29th, try the western sky as the sky gets dark. The comet itself will still be below the horizon, but if it has developed a very bright tail, this may be seen strongly curved towards the south.
It will be visible for a few days in the evening sky and the tail will straighten and get lower each evening.
ISON will be visible in the morning sky from the weekend as it recedes from the Sun.
Let’s hope for a good show, assuming the clouds let us see what’s actually going on.
But the only way to be sure is to get out and look for it yourself.
Currently in Leo to the west of Regulus, newly discovered Comet Nevski (Discovered by the co-discoverer of Comet ISON C/2012 S1, currently brightening rapidly in the morning sky as it approaches perihelion), has taken the lead from its more famous cousin.
Nevski has suddenly brightened 6 magnitudes to +8.8 so should be visible in binoculars.
We are certainly being spoilt for choice at the moment.
(That’s if the Moon wasn’t interefering and the clouds over the UK).
Missed the moonless dark skies on Friday, but this morning I managed to get Comet ISON this morning from a site close to where I work.
The comet wasn’t quite visible in the camera, but I managed to find it fairly easily not far from Spica.
I used a telephoto lens.
It’s not as good as the images I showed previously that others had taken, but then again they didn’t have the comet competing with this.
The comet is now moving closer to the Sun and getting lower in the morning sky each day and more difficult to observe and image.
Once the comet passes perihelion on the 28th it will quickly move back away from the Sun into the morning sky.
There will however be a brief evening apparition for a few days at the end of twilight from the 29th of November.
What will happen. We just do not know. So just make sure you get out there and keep tabs on it yourself.