VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: These charts are drawn for what is commonly called “mid Northern latitudes”, i.e. the UK, northern Europe and most of the US. If you live outside of that area your opportunities to view ISON will be different. To find out if you can see ISON from where YOU live, please go to this page of my blog…
…where you’ll find a fantastic NASA chart giving general guidance, and a number of charts I’ve made showing the comet’s visibility from other places, specifically India, Japan and The Philipines, which are the places I’m getting the most enquiries from. If you’re still not sure about your ability to see ISON after reading all that, I strongly suggest that you download one of the many available astronomy apps onto your phone, which will tell you exactly what you want to know. I recommend some of those on this page of my blog…
Thanks – and good luck with ISON!
WHEN VISIBLE: MORNING AND EVENING SKY
THROUGH: BINOCULARS UNTIL MID-MONTH THEN SMALL TELESCOPE
The show is almost over now. As January begins Comet ISON will slip out of view for our naked eyes and will need a pair of binoculars to see it, and by month’s end you’ll need a telescope to see it. During January the comet will be visible all through the night, from dusk til dawn, each night a little fainter, a little less impressive. By this time, with any long tail it developed just a memory, only dedicated amateur astronomers and comet watchers will be following it I think. But if you get a clear night you should try and track it down, it will still be worth a look I think – and why wouldn’t you want just one more look at the famous Comet ISON before it vanishes for good?
By the end of January Comet ISON will be high in the north west sky after sunset, shining close to the bright yellow-white star Capella, still close enough to the Pole Star to allow fairly long exposures to be taken with tripod mounted cameras. How long will its tail be by then? we can’t know. It may not have a tail any more. How bright will it be? Well, we do know that by January 31st it will be below naked eye visibility, maybe far below naked eye visibility. But until January rolls around we just don’t know what it will look like. But we do know that once it reaches this stage in its show it will have been observed and photographed more than any other comet in history, and will probably have been seen by more people than any other comet in history. I hope these charts help (or helped, if you’re reading this in 2014!) you see Comet ISON, and that you only have good memories of it.
Roll on the next Great Comet!