“Can I See Comet ISON From Where I Live..?”

I’m getting quite a few questions from people wondering if they can see Comet ISON from where they live, which is nice because it means my blog is reaching people in lots of different countries and not just in Europe or the US. If you are one of the people wondering if you can see ISON from your part of the world, this page is for you…

NOV 29th UPDATE: Comet ISON has now had its close encounter with the Sun, and it didn’t go well, as I report on other pages of this blog. But there’s still a chance we might see something in the morning sky in early December. If we do, this page will help you know where, and when, to look. But we might not see anything at all. We’ll have to wait and see.

Before anything else, what I recommend is downloading an astronomy App for your smartphone. Whether you have an Android or an IPhone, there are now several Apps which you can download, for free, which will tell you and show you exactly when and where you will be able to see ISON from where you live. There’s a whole page of this blog dedicated to them – and to other ways of finding the comet – and you’ll find it on the menu at the top of the page. The one I recommend above all others is called SKY SAFARI. I swear by it (or at it, sometimes, if the screen shows me where ISON is but the sky is cloudy…!)

Of course, lots of people don’t have a smartphone, so what do you do if you’re one of them? Well, a good place to start is with this fantastic chart, created by the Hubble ISON blog team. It splits the world into banded zones, and tells you when ISON will be visible from each band. Simple!


That should help most people, I think. It shows that basically, if you live further south than 30 degrees North you’ll be able to see ISON in the morning sky only. Further north than that and you get to see it before and after sunrise. And the further north you live, the longer you’ll be able to see it for. A Northern hemisphere comet at last! Yaay!

BUT… I am getting a lot of queries from readers in India and South Africa, asking if they will be able to see the comet. So I’ve made some special charts for you using SKY SAFARI showing ISON’s visibility for central India and Durban. Obviously, going by the chart, Durban viewers only get to see the comet during this month, before dawn. Readers in India will be able to see it before dawn during both November and December.

And please note, if you live in one of those countries but not in one of the cities shown, you don’t need to email me and ask me if you will still be able to see the comet. Its visibility within a given country won’t change much at all from city to city (unless that country is huge!). So if you live in South Africa but not in Durban, yes, you will still be able to see the comet. Likewise, if you live in India but not in Hyderabad, yes, you’ll sill be able to see the comet! 🙂

durban nov 21

india am nov 10

India am dec 8

That looks like a very interesting view from  Indian latitudes before dawn in early December – a vertical line of 3 planets, with ISON off to the left.

I’m also getting a lot of enquiries from Japan and The Philipines, so what’s ISON’s visibility like from there? Again, you need to be looking for ISON *before dawn*, in the eastern sky. The following screenshots from SKY SAFARI PLUS will help you know where to look. They’re both set for Dec 5th, but it will be worth looking for ISON a couple of days before that and for a couple of weeks after that date too.





There. I hope that helps those readers. Please note this isn’t an open invitation to ask me if you can see ISON from *your* house! I haven’t got the time to reply to everyone or make them charts! 🙂 Use that NASA chart at the top of the page to get a good idea of your own viewing circumstances, and I really can’t suggest strongly enough that you download an astronomy app like SKY SAFARI onto your phone to help you find the comet, if you have a smartphone.

96 Responses to ““Can I See Comet ISON From Where I Live..?””

  1. What direction and at what time will comet ISON be visible in the sky in California?

  2. What about Oshawa, ON Canada
    Have a 10 yr old girl wondering if she’ll see her first comet?

  3. Boy do I feel dumb. Since October we have been watching in the southwest sky a bright object that we thought was ISON…! I wish I had found your blog earlier than today….found out that we were looking at Venus thinking it was the comet ISON 😦 We live in Salt Lake City Utah so now I realize that we were not even looking in the right direction. Thank you for your blog. Now I have to explain to my grandkids that their grandma is a total nerd when it comes to the nighttime sky….or even the daytime sky for that matter. Thank you for setting up this blog. It has proved to be very intriguing.

  4. wow its so good to sky view because you can see many things you’ve ever dreamt of seeing!

  5. Ison….i just saw it cuple of days ago but i wasnt thinking that might be it because they said it has disapeared.what a great view in RSA i will never forget in my entire life.

    • Sorry, whatever you saw it wasn’t ISON; that fell apart as it rounded the Sun on Nov 28th, and the little bits left can’t even be seen through large telescopes.

  6. is our planet is safe for that big comet called ison. i have so many question in my mind, i’ve been thinking the reason why there so many disaster here on earth. Is because there is something going wrong outside our planet. ison is not dead right i saw the video from you-tube this fast few days. and i saw one planet is became brighter than before,.

    • Francis, we’re totally safe, Comet ISON has been – and gone. It broke up as it rounded the Sun, and nothing is left. But even before that happened we were never in any danger, it was always going to miss us by 40 MILLION miles. Those things you saw on YouTube were basically just total lies and rubbish. And no, Mars did not become brighter than before, that never happened, that CAN’T happen. And really, don’t you think that if somnething like that had happened itm would be all over the TV and radio news? And in every newspaper? Not just on a crappy, badly-filmed YouTube video? Please stop worrying. We’re not – and never were – in any danger.

  7. Why is comet ison tracker still available?? Cud it have changed its trajectory??

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