HOW TO FIND COMET ISON / selected dates
NOTE: To determine degrees in the sky, straighten your arm in front of you. Position your hand with the palm facing outward, the fingers straight and together. The width of your palm at that distance is about 10-degrees. The width of your little finger is about one degree. You can use the palm and fingers to count the number of degrees in the sky.
OCTOBER PREDAWN EVENTS – binoculars or telescope needed
1 OCTOBER ISON is 10-degrees north of the Moon
RA: 9h 26m 20.9s DEC: 18h 24m 19s)
10 October ISON enters the camera view for the NASA Stereo/SECCHI HI-2A camera.
NASA should be announcing photographs soon!
RA: 9h 55m 22s DEC: 15h 31m 32s
16 OCTOBER ISON is 2-degrees NNE of the star Regulus
RA: 10h 11m 37.5s DEC: 13h 45m 35s
18 OCTOBER Full Moon lighting up the atmosphere will make ISON hard to see
26 OCTOBER ISON is within 3-degrees of the three galaxies in the constellation Leo, M95, M96, and M105;
RA: 10h 45m 33.7s DEC: 9h 45m 40s
30 OCTOBER ISON is 6-degrees north of the Moon
RA: 11h 2m 44.1s DEC: 7h 36m 19s
NOVEMBER PREDAWN EVENTS / ISON NOW VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE
5 NOVEMBER ISON leaves the Leo constellation boundary and enters VIRGO territory
RA: 11h 34m 26.2s DEC: 3h 28m 3s
7 NOVEMBER ISON is less than 1-degree from the star Zavijava in Virgo, the second brightest star in that constellation.
RA: 11h 34m 26.2s DEC: 3h 28m 3s
18 NOVEMBER ISON IS 38-degrees north of the star Spica
RA: 13h 24m 59.4s DEC: -10h 48m 45s
22 NOVEMBER ISON leaves the Virgo constellation boundary and enters Libra territory
RA: 14h 16m 19.6s DEC: -16h 18m 37s
23 NOVEMBER ISON is 4.7-degrees SSW of Mercury and 4.90 SSW of Saturn
RA: 14h 30m 41.5s DEC: -17h 37m 57s
28 NOVEMBER ISON is at its closest point to the Sun and difficult to see as it enters the chromosphere layer of the Sun.
1-7 DECEMBER Visible also at dawn, ISON will move higher in the SW sky after sunset.
On 1 December: RA: 16h 19m 11.9s DEC: -13h 59m 8s
10-14 DECEMBER Visible at both dawn and sunset, it is easier to see in the NE dawn sky
On 10 December: RA: 16h 10m 41.5s DEC: 3h 16m 47s
20 DECEMBER ISON is now found in the NW evening sky
RA: 16h 12m 59.8s DEC: 28h 49m 9s
8 JANUARY ISON is found 2-degrees from Polaris, the North Star
RA: 23h 46m 57s DEC: 87h 1m 17s
The Right Ascension and Declination data listed here is courtesy of the Celestron Corp. and easily shared from their website. This site currently illustrates comet positions on an interactive sky map for both Comet ISON and Comet PANSTARRS. It is the best website star map I’ve seen for the comet positions. I highly recommend comet watchers investigate the Celestron site at: http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/cometwatch.html.
Another great source of Comet ISON information is located at: http://earthsky.org/space/big-sun-diving-comet-ison-might-be-spectacular-in-2013. This site is written by Deborah Bryd who is Founder and President of the digital EarthSky publication. I think you will find much data at this site to create enthusiasm and wonder about comets.
DISTANT SUNS is a free application from the NASA Night Sky network which you are invited to install on your iphone or other electronic device. You can use it anytime to learn more about astronomy and keep up to date with celestial events.