Nov 15-22, 2013 - Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON)
from Metchosin & Victoria
Nov 15, 2013 - Bill Weir, our Observing Chair issues
a challenge to members to observe five comets, which are all visible in the sky
over the next few days: 2012 S1 (ISON) , 2013 R1 (Lovejoy), 2012 X1 (LINEAR),
2013 V3 (Nevski), 2P/Encke
All are visible early in the AM ( in essentially the same area of the sky) in
the couple of hours before twilight. Who's up to the challenge? The charts are
I'm planning to see if I can observe them all in one blitz Saturday AM from
Taylor Beach. The other morning before work Lovejoy was an easy catch with
binoculars from my backyard. The forest obscured the rest of the sky I needed.
With the chance of clear sky holding on tonight it really presents the last good
chance for awhile seeing as we are seriously into the brightest phases of the
The concept of potentially observing 5 reasonably bright is rather
Nov 16, 2013
I got a glimpse of Comet ISON on Saturday morning.
Itís unfortunate that the moon was very bright. As a result the tail of the
comet got washed out.
I had a go with 10x42 binoculars starting around 4 AM this morning. Comet
Lovejoy was visible from my backyard but by the time ISON and Encke were high
enough to clear the nearby houses and trees the sky was too bright to see either
Thatís great, John !! I tried to find ISON with my 12X50s (nr. Spica) after 5
AM this morning but no luck. Didnít know about Lovejoy but will try again
another morning. Had a nice ISS sighting, though.
I managed 3, Lovejoy, 2012 X1 (LINEAR), and 2013 V3 (Nevski). Lovejoy was
easy with my 15X70 binos and showed detail with my 6" dob @ 60X magnification.
Linear and Nevski were much harder to see. The FOV were very easy to find but
the actual comets were difficult due to the very bright Moon. There were times
when I caught the Moon out of the corner of my eye or looked up from the
eyepiece I though a car was driving down Taylor Road to the beach. Linear's
field was especially easy because it was within a degree of Arcturus. Both of
these comets were barely detected and looked like very small faint galaxies.
Like you stated John, by the time Ison and Enke would have been high enough
the sky was a bit too bright. More of the problem though was the whole time I
was out I was playing Peek a Boo with clouds passing though the sky. Then there
was also the moisture over the ocean that combined with the intense light from
the Moon made the area of Virgo like milk. If the Moon hadn't been so bright I
believe Ison would have been visible. Where I was observing from you can see
very far to the south east.
Diane, all of the information on these comets including magnitudes and charts
is available on that "Comet Chasing" website. All 5 would be 6 inch telescope
possible and 3 should be possible with those big binos of yours. With the bright
Moon now only Lovejoy will be reasonable.
Nov 21, 2013
I arrived at Taylor Beach again around 0550. This time along with my 15X70
binoculars I also had my 6 inch dobsonian telescope. Unfortunately a thin cloud
bank hung over the Strait in precisely the area of the sky I needed to be clear.
I got a very short break as the clouds drifted and made another observation with
the binoculars. The tail and coma of the comet looked exactly as they did the
day before but the core was noticeably brighter. Then the clouds snapped shut
and I was shut out from then on. I did set up the 6 inch but never got to
observe the comet with it. I waited until 0645 then had to head to work.
Now here's the rant. All the hype by the media (which is started by the
scientific community) about the comet really bugs me. While I was sitting
waiting for the clouds to drift, two cars drove up. One contained a 60+ish
couple and the other contained a dad with his three young children who were all
for sure under 10. All were there to see the comet. They all seemed to be under
the impression that all they had to do was get out of the car and there
emblazoned across the sky would be the "Naked Eye, Comet of the Century". I
unfortunately was left with the task of breaking their bubble. At least before
they left I was able to give a condensed lesson on comets and the kids I was
able to show a very sharp view of Jupiter with my 6 inch scope as the seeing was
excellent. I also left them with the reassurance that if the sky was clear the
next morning at the same time they would be able to find me sitting in the open
back of my Forester observing the comet.
Unless something dramatic happens I suspect this comet will not be like
McNaught of 2007. Stay tuned.
Nov. 22, 2013
Although I will give it one last shot tomorrow this morning was probably the
last chance for our latitude to be able to observe the so called "Comet of the
Century". I was back at Taylor beach again 15X70 binoculars and 6 inch dobsonian
in tow. There was some haze but by about 0615 hrs Mercury had risen enough above
the thick haze to think about having a go at it. The comet was just visible with
the binoculars due to the brightening sky and haze. Still, thinking about the
conditions I feel it is brighter than the day before so I switch to the scope.
It didn't take long to sweep it up and very low power. I switch to an eyepiece
that gave60X magnification and a 1.66ļ FOV. Although no tail was visible a nice
bright core and fainter outer halo showed. At that point the couple that I have
seen daily walking the beach came by so I showed them the comet. Then before I
packed up we all had to leave for work, I gave them a quick show of the Moon and
So will this be the last we see of this comet or will it survive the Sun? As
it will now be dipped below the horizon I guess in a week or so we will know the
answer. As I was about to depart the beach I balance my old cheapo point and
shoot digital camera on the tsunami zone sine and snapped this parting shot at
around 0635 hrs. I've marked Spica, Mercury and the comet. Blown up it
actually shows a dot in the circle.
I will be back at the beach for one more try Saturday morning but I'm not
holding my breath on seeing it. Then again, you won't know unless you give it a