The Great Comet of 2013

Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) may or may not be the most spectaular comet of our liftime, or could just fizzle out like previous ones. Discovered on 21 Sept 2012 in Russia, and announced on 24 September 2012, the comet may become extremely bright if it remains intact. According to Astronomy Now, it may briefly become brighter than the full Moon. But predicting the brightness of a comet is difficult, especially one that will pass so close to the Sun. Comet Kohoutek and C/1999 S4 did not meet expectations, but if ISON survives it could look similar to the Great Comet of 1861

I'd love this to be the most spectular comet ever, but remember what David H. Levy said : "Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want."

This animation shows the path of the comet from August 2013 as it approaches the Sun

The following tables show the astrological coordinates of the comet during 2013, created from data from the Minor Planet Center with calculations using Swiss Ephemeris

01 May 2013 09 Can 6 N
01 June 2013 13 Can 5 N
01 July 2013 19 Can 3 N
01 Aug 2013 27 Can 3N
01 Sept 2013 06 Leo 3N
01 Oct 2013 20 Leo 2N
01 Nov 2013 16 Vir 0.5N

In the early months of 2013, the comet will arrive in the solar system, from above (north) of the elciptic, from the direction of Cancer.

It will be astrologicaly conjuct Mars, 21deg Leo around the 2nd of October.

02 Nov 2013 17 Vir 0.4 N
03 Nov 2013 19 Vir 0.5 N
04 Nov 2013 21 Vir 0.4 N
05 Nov 2013 22 Vir 0.3 N
06 Nov 2013 24 Vir 0.1 N
07 Nov 2013 26 Vir 0.0
08 Nov 2013 28 Vir 0.2 S
09 Nov 2013 00 Lib 0.4 S
10 Nov 2013 02 Lib 0.6 S
11 Nov 2013 04 Lib 0.1 S
12 Nov 2013 06 Lib 0.2 S
13 Nov 2013 09 Lib 0.3 S
14 Nov 2013 11 Lib 0.4 S
15 Nov 2013 14 Lib 0.5 S
16 Nov 2013 17 Lib 1.2 S
17 Nov 2013 20 Lib 1.2 S
19 Nov 2013 23 Lib 1.3 S
20 Nov 2013 00 Sco 1.6 S
21 Nov 2013 03 Sco 2 S
22 Nov 2013 07 Sco 2.3 S
23 Nov 2013 10 Sco 2.3 S
24 Nov 2013 14 Sco 2.3 S
25 Nov 2013 18 Sco 2.5S
26 Nov 2013 22 Sco 2.5 S
27 Nov 2013 26 Sco 2.4 S
28 Nov 2013 01 Sag 2.0 S
29 Nov 2013 07 Sag 1.3 N
30 Nov 2013 06 Sag 5N

Now starting to move faster as it approaches the sun, this table covers November. Passing the orbit of the Earth in early November, we are well clear of its path.

It passes below the ecliptic plane where the planets orbit on the 7th November and shoots round the sun at the end of November, 28/29 November

From December onwards, the comet should be visible in the eastern sky in the evening, and this is the time the tail might develop....

01 Dec 2013 05 Sag 7 N
02 Dec 2013 04 Sag 9 N
03 Dec 2013 04 Sag 11 N
04 Dec 2013 03 Sag 13 N
05 Dec 2013 02 Sag 14N
06 Dec 2013 02 Sag 16N
07 Dec 2013 01 Sag 18N

Now back above the plane of ecliptic, now is the time for the best views of a spectacular tail ... or not!

Image 9

Looking to the East on the 15th Oct 2013, the comet ISON will be the star Regulus and Mars. If it hasn't developed a tail yet, this will be a good time to look with binoculars. The green line is the ecliptic, the path of the planets round the Sun, and the blue line the oribtal path of the comet. The simulation shows the early morning, around dawn

Image 9

The image show the comet as it emerges from behind the sun, at sunset on the 1st Devember. During the month, it will move higher and this is the time the tail will develop. A spectular Christmas Comet?

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