Comet ISON update for August 20, 2013

Today, Comet ISON is approximately 2.371 AU from the sun. That’s over 220+ million mi (354+ million km). There are less than 100 days until ISON reaches perihelion.

Over the past 10 days, between August 10th and August 20th, Comet ISON traveled a distance of approximately 0.155 AU.

0.155 AU = 14,408,150.1 miles
0.155 AU = 23,187,670 kilometers

That’s an average speed of roughly 1.44 million miles per day, or 2.31 million kilometers per day.

Estimated average speed
1,440,815.01 miles / 24 hours = 60,033.9 miles per hour
60,033.9 mph / 60 min = 1000.5 miles per minute
1000.5 mi/min / 60 sec = 16.6 miles per second

2,318,767 km / 24 hours = 96,615.2 kilometers per hour
96,615.2 km/hr / 60 min = 1610.2 kilometers per minute
1610.2 km/min / 60 sec = 26.8 kilometers per second

On August 9th, the time projected (tp) value calculated by NASA for perihelion (closest to the sun) was 2013-Nov-28.77844308. That’s the equivalent of November 28, 2013 at 18:40:57 UTC.

The time projected value was updated on August 18th at 10:44:08 to 2013-Nov-28.78273328. That’s the equivalent of November 28, 2013 at 18:47:08 and an update of about 7 minutes and 49 seconds.

Comet ISON orbit diagram

Comet ISON orbit diagram

ISON is currently between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, but from Earth’s perspective, it is emerging from the sun’s glare. Astronomers from across the globe have been using powerful telescopes to capture and image ISON as it emerges.

Here are some images of ISON (good, bad, and poor) from the past week. ISON appears faint in some of the images since it was only a few degrees above the horizon and washed out by twilight.

August 20, 2013
Direct photo link
Related information
Observation Location: Seine et Marne, France (C10)
Credits: Jean-François Soulier

August 19, 2013
Direct photo link
Time: 05:32 UT
Observation Location: Tenerlife, Canary Islands (via Slooh)
Credits: Christina Feliciano-Rivera

Direct photo link
Time: 05:32 UT
Observation Location: Tenerlife, Canary Islands (via Slooh)
Credits: Don Cranford

August 18, 2013
Direct photo link
Observation Location: Austria
Credits: Michael Jäger

August 17, 2013
Direct photo link
Time: 05:32 UT
Observation Location: Tenerlife, Canary Islands (via Slooh)
Credits: Christina Feliciano-Rivera

August 16, 2013
Direct photo link
Related information
Observation Location: Seine et Marne, France (C10)
Credits: Jean-François Soulier

August 15, 2013
Direct photo link
Related information
Observation Location: Seine et Marne, France (C10)
Credits: Jean-François Soulier

August 14, 2013
No images available.

August 13, 2013
No images available.

August 12, 2013
This is the first image of ISON since it disappeared within the sun’s glare in June.
Direct photo link
Related information
Time: 11:33-11:56 UT
Observation Location: Hereford Arizona Observatory (G95)
Equipment: Celestron 11-inch telescope
Credits: Stacked image by Bruce Gary from Arizona

Here are some news snippets from the past week.

India is gearing up to observe ISON later this year.

Various science movements, amateur astronomy groups and others have come together to plan a nation-wide campaign to track this comet. Bharath Gyan Vigyan Samithi and Centre for contemporary Studies in Indian Institute of Science will organize a series of workshops for the public to track the comet. The workshops held from September will continue for three months. There will be day time and night time astronomy and sky watching activities during the workshops.

“…We plan to reach to as many school children as possible and create interest in astronomy and demystify certain believes like watching comets is harmful,” said Jayakumar.

A workshop for the southern states will be held for 3 days from August 22 to 24 to train resource persons who would be able further train the teachers and science activists at regional levels.

Times of India, 08/20/2013 article by Sruthy Susan Ullas

…ISON won’t pass the +10th magnitude threshold until around late September, when it will become a reasonable object for binoculars under a dark sky.

ISON will pass 10.8 million kilometers from the planet Mars on October 1st, and may become the first comet observed from the surface of another world if NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity can catch sight of it from the surface of the Red Planet.

Canada.com, 08/14/2013 article by David Dickinson

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