Saturday, November 30, 2013

1548m 2013/11/30

1548m 2013/11/30 07:25–07:35 EST Foxmead E window 3 ne

 Comet ISON: If many people saw what I saw this morning, we may have many false reports of comet sightings. I was up at sunrise again this morning, and was greeted by layers of clouds down close to the horizon. About 10 minutes before sunrise (predicted for 7:35 a.m. here), these clouds were lit up by the Sun just below the horizon, creating a beautiful pink solar pillar:

 I saw one of these during my "dawn patrol" for Comet McNaught seven years ago, and they actually put my photograph of it on the cover of the RASC Journal. By the actual time of sunrise, the pillar had faded.

This pillar, as its name implies, was perfectly vertical, while the comet, had it been visible, would have been at a 45° angle to the horizon and off to the left of the sunrise point.

All that's left of it is that fan shape above and slightly to the right of the Sun.

Temperature = –4.3°C

Friday, November 29, 2013

1547m 2013/11/29

1547m 2013/11/29 07:30–07:50 EST Foxmead E window 8 10x50b ne

Comet ISON appears to have survived its close encounter with the Sun. I scanned the horizon just to the left of the rising Sun, but saw no sign of it.

Temperature = –13°C

Thursday, November 28, 2013

1546m 2013/11/28

1546m 2013/11/28 06:00–08:00 EST Foxmead E window 9 10x50b ne

Looking for Comet ISON under excellent conditions. I easily observed Saturn and Mercury rising. There were clouds close to the horizon which blocked the Sun at Sunrise, but I still was unable to see the comet. According to Starry Night and SOHO, it was about 2° to the right of the Sun and slightly below the Sun, with its tail almost parallel to the horizon, so the chances of seeing it were slim. It is now very bright on SOHO's LASCO C3, much brighter than Antares in the same field, and should be entering C2 soon. I'll try again during the day and at sunset.

Temperature = –9° C 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

1545m 2013/11/16

1545m 2013/11/16 06:05–06:15 EST Foxmead E window 3 10x50b ne

Looked for Comet ISON, but dawn twilight and low mist prevented my seeing it. I could see Spica and Porrima, but the comet in between them eluded me, though once or twice I suspected a faint streak of light with averted imagination. Earlier (around 05:30) the setting 14-day-old Moon lit up the horizon haze and blocked my view. The Moon will make it difficult to see the comet for the next few days.

Temperature = –2° C 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1544m 2013/11/14

1544m 2013/11/14 05:35–05:50 EST Foxmead E window 8 10x50b ne

I observed Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) for the first time with 10x50 binoculars. It is much brighter than I expected, slightly brighter than HIP62421 (magnitude 6.2), north of which it is just passing . It is almost as bright as Chi Virginis (magnitude 4.6) to its west. This is much brighter than predicted by Starry Night (magnitude 8.2). I thought I could just see a faint tail to the northwest with averted vision. This is very promising! While it is not yet visible naked eye, it is getting close to it.

Temperature =  0.8°C

Sunday, November 3, 2013

1543d 2013/11/03

1543d 2013/11/03 07:00–07:15 EST Foxmead E window 9 ne

Attempted to observe partial solar eclipse on a beautifully clear morning. The Sun was visible at first peeking through the trees on a distant hillside. By the time the Sun cleared the trees at 07:15, the Moon had moved off the Sun. Observing with a Baader solar filter.

Temperature = –3.9° C