Comet ISON update for November 2, 2013

Here are the latest images of Comet ISON from the past couple of days.

November 2, 2013

November 1, 2013

October 31, 2013

October 30, 2013

Here are a couple of news articles from the past couple of days.

The highly regarded comet observer John Bortle is just as perplexed by the comet’s recent appearance, commenting that the recent images along with his own visual impression, is “downright weird.” He adds that, “There is a bright, miniature, long-tailed comet situated within a much larger, but very much fainter and diffuse halo of a coma.”

“Those visual people using larger telescope also often remark about the odd way the comet looks, while those using relatively small scopes and big binoculars report seeing a larger, more-or-less faint but uniform cometary mass,” he added. “This comet is currently at a distance from the sun where it should no longer exhibit such a dichotomy of appearance.”

NBCnews.com, 11/01/2013 article by Joe Rao

For the conspiracy theorists out there, the green color is actually a good omen, and lots of comets display this color. The green color is a sign the comet is getting more active as gets closer to the Sun – meaning it is now putting on a good show for astronomers, and if it can continue to hold itself together, it might become one of the brightest comets in the past several years.

“ISON’s green color comes from the gases surrounding its icy nucleus,” says SpaceWeather.com’s Tony Phillips. “Jets spewing from the comet’s core probably contain cyanogen (CN: a poisonous gas found in many comets) and diatomic carbon (C2). Both substances glow green when illuminated by sunlight in the near-vacuum of space.”
Universe Today, 10/24/2013 article by Nancy Atkinson

At the beginning of the month ISON shines at about 9th magnitude making it visible as a faint fuzzy speck in binoculars. Expectations are that it will continue to brighten, possibly reaching naked-eye visibility by the end of the month when it reaches its closest approach with the sun on November 28.

Joining ISON just a few binocular fields to its far lower left is another icy interloper, the comet 2P/Encke, which will also be visible a couple hours before local sunrise. Flying through the constellation Leo, the Lion, Encke shines at about 7th magnitude, making it the brightest comet in our skies for now. For sky-watchers this means that Encke is an easy target to see with binoculars and small telescopes. The two comets appear about 20 degrees apart—equal to the width of two side-by-side fists at arm’s length.
National Geographic, 10/28/2013 article by Andrew Fazekas

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