Nov 28th – Perihelion Day



Well, here we are.

After all the waiting, all the hype, all the build-up, it’s D Day for ISON. Today ISON rounds the Sun, and we will all have front row seats due thanks to the telescopes and space probes being pointed at it. What will happen? Will ISON be destroyed by the Sun? Will it survive its close encounter of the solar kind and emerge from the Sun’s glare and put on a show for us in the sky in a week or so’s time? We can’t know. All bets are off.


All today’s action will take place online, there’ll be nothing to see in the sky, so to follow the drama as it unfolds, you need to be watching several websites very closely and checking them as often as you can. I recommend the following:


Realtime images of the Sun (this SOHO images site is going to get hammered today, so don’t be surprised if you can’t access it sometimes)


I’ll update here as often as I can, and hope you can join me.

It’s going to be a fascinating, frightening, roller coaster of a day. By the end of it we should know if Comet ISON has fallen prey to the Sun, cheating us of the chance of seeing a bright naked eye comet gracing our skies, or if it has survived, and has a chance to go on to become a beautiful sight before sunrise in the next few days.

Good luck Little One..!

And everyone else? Buckle up. This is it.



I’ve been away from my computer all day, but keeping an eye on things through my phone, so I’ve been able to follow ISON’s approach to the Sun. And it’s been an exhilarating, agonising day…

Things started off very positively, with ISON brightening steadily as it sped towards the Sun, and then suddenly its brightness began to rocket. A good sign! Lots of activity! ISON switching on!

Then… a sudden fading…

What NOW?!?!?! An outburst? Or had, as many had predicted would happen, ISON finally collapsed and disintegrated, and what we were seeing was the remains of the nucleus spreading apart?

As I write this ISON’s brightness is still dropping, and it’s about to start its breakneck turn around the Sun. Closest approach to the Sun is in about 90 minutes, and soon it will enter the field of view of the SDO observatory. Then we’ll have a much clearer idea of what’s happening with – or has happened to – the comet. In the meantime, here’s a jazzed up SOHO image of ISON approaching the Sun… look how close it was just a short time ago… This might be one of the last views we get of it, or it might be the curtain raiser to something amazing…

15.37 bw


19.00 GMT: Farewell ISON..?

Hate to bring you all bad news, but it is looking very much like Comet ISON has gone.

Images taken as she approached her closest point to the Sun strongly suggest that ISON fragmented, or maybe even disintegrated, while she was still a good hour or so away from perihelion itself. Instead of showing the classic “bright head and tail traileing behind it” they show a sharply pointed, dim front, with brighter material in a broader area behind it, and a thinning tail behind that…



That area circled might be ISON’s nucleus breaking up and spreading apart into a cloud of dusty debris, which was always a possibility.


No-one is sure yet, there are still some optimists urging caution, and ISON has taken a huge delight in fooling us with her wacky and bizarre behaviour several times before today, so there’s still an outside chance we might yet hear a cry of “There she is!” from the SDO team scanning the solar observatory’s images for signs of the comet… but the majority of experts and commentators seem to be agreeing that ISON has gone. And this image, posted just now on Twitter by German astronomy outreacher Daniel Fischer seems to confirm that, as it shows ISON basically fading away to nothing…

BaLglPiCQAAn56D.png large

BaLglPiCQAAn56D.png large_cr

So no, it’s not looking good. More later.


21.04: ISON? IS that YOU..???

Oh look at that… it seems we were too quick to start engraving ISON’s headstone..!

New images show something (circled) emerging from the Sun’s glare and pulling away from the Sun…



Wow… it looks like our little snowbird possibly escaped the clutches of the dragon after all

No idea what this means for those of us hoping desperately to see something beautiful in the sky in the next few days and weeks, it’s way too early to tell, but we’ll be watching this very closely over the next few hours…

All is not lost! ISON has delighted in fooling us and messing with our heads ever since she was discovered. We should have known she’d pull something like this, shouldn’t we..?!

63 Responses to “Nov 28th – Perihelion Day”

  1. I am going to wake up early tomorrow!

    Perihelion will happen at 2:30 am, November 29 here at The Philippines

    Maybe I’ll get to see a very bright long tail before the sun rises!

  2. Since ISON will be “below” the Sun today, is there any chance that it…or at least its tail could be visible after the Sun sets this evening? This question of course hinges on the possibility that the comet has gone or will go “bonkers” bright & tail long in the next many hours. Any chance? Or does the geometry (if that’s the word) kill all chance?

  3. It will take few days before anyone can see it by naked eyes , if , let’s pray it survives its encounter with Sun today..So Chris & Markeister just cross your fingers and wait … all the best ISON

  4. Take a look at this website: — is the comet really that bright right now? The site seems very trustworthy, but that doesn’t seem very likely…

  5. ISON is not looking good at all this morning. It is the most cyclothymic comet I’ve ever seen. Astronomers are clueless of what is going on with it because spectrograph lines are all over the place. ISON may not end up been the comet of the century but it is surely already the most lunatic craziest comet of the century.

  6. I know this is late… but I’m going to attempt this – there are some light clouds which I hope the sun will burn off. Daylight attempt:

  7. Come on ISON, You can do it!

  8. Hope here in Slovakia will be good view of her.

  9. I’m watching it live on Google Hangout right now! Join us. 🙂

    They aren’t sure if it’s in one piece, but they are excited and think it is at least – at the moment – doing fine! Fingers crossed folks.

    You can do it baby! We love you!

    I can’t believe I’m getting sentimental over a piece of rock and ice (and gas).

  10. Listen up nutters!

  11. Only 1 Minute to perihelion guys! CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

  12. And, perihelion is here.

  13. It’s not looking so good at 1850h. They think the absence of a bright tip is a bad sign. 😦

  14. They are pretty confident that it has broken up 😦

  15. ISON, you were such a beautiful sight
    A visitor from the far reaches of our system
    thank you for visiting us in our little corner
    of our system that we shared
    for so many millions of years
    so fragile, so beautiful

  16. The pros can’t understand why they cannot see the comet in the SDL (?) telescope. It looks like even the dust has vaporised! What’s gone on? Sounds like there’s no comet left at all at this time.

  17. Watching Hangout and SDL and still no tail… 😦 strange

  18. So maybe now you can get back to updating the Mars Rover websites….

  19. …this looks like it simply fizzed out

  20. […] hängt noch im Raum, und der scharfe Strahl harrt weiter einer genauen Erklärung. Nachrufe schon hier und hier. [20:55 […]

  21. Well one good thing about this blog – I was able to have realistic expectations in my attempts to capture ISON with my camera.

  22. Fine work, good Sir! Thank you.

  23. Thank you for your interesting blog. Which dark sky site were you watching from?

  24. Are you sure those images are ISON? Did some part of her make it? WOW thanks for the update!

  25. — It’s just large bits of debris, it’s not the entire comet. I doubt it’ll get very bright later on…


    Looks like Ison might still be trucking along :), knew she’d make it.

  27. I was just crying on my cornflakes (ironically) this morning then that good news…

    ISON… is… alive…. yay…. but she is smaller than before…. (Sobs)

    • Honestly i’m just glad she’s still alive and has more journey’s ahead of her. Yeah it’s disappointing that she’ll probably not become a naked eye comet. But she’s baffled viewers throughout her journey so far, and there’s still more to see as she says farewell hopefully.

  28. Is ISON going to be a “Northern LoveJoy”? A headless comet with an amazing tail?

    “When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.” – Charge of the Light Brigade

  29. Sorry to disappoint you all… but things look really bad. During perihelion LASCO C2 photo’s show that ISON first lost her nucleus and then, behind the sun, disintegrated and left nothing but a huge track of dust and rubble.

    What you see coming from the back of the sun is just a big cloud of dust, blown away by the sun’s “wind”. That’s the mist you see on the left hand side of the brighter trail.
    The first part that came from behind the sun is also the brightest where the dim tail should have come first and the brighter head last, if things were okay.
    No head has appeard whatsoever, not at the time it should have appeared, nor any moment later.

    I’m afraid this was all ISON had to show us…

    But I promise, I’ll eat my own hat if ISON survived after all !!!

    Rest in peace, brave little comet “of the century”….

    By the way, thanks for this blog!

  30. Accept the truth. He’s dead. Time to turn your attention back to the Mars Rovers blogs and apologise to all those followers you’ve been ignoring.

    • Apologise? For what? Not as if I get paid for blogging, it’s a hobby not a job. Up to me when and what I write, thanks.

    • And ISON isn’t dead, she made it around, whatever part of her. If she shows in the spacecraft cameras, shes still there.

    • What?

      This man, Mr. Stuart Atkinson, gave his every drop of sweat, blood, and tears for the good of ISON and those who love them!

      Why should he apologize to everyone here? Its not his fault that ISON died or something. He never let us down! He gives us information up to the last drop!

      I salute you sir!

  31. I already said it. This “comet” (I am starting to doubt this is really a comet) is completely insane.

  32. Waiting for Ison is a fantastic blog,I have been following and enjoying it all the way and hopefully you will crack on with meteor showers,comets and all sky related stuff,mucho thanks

  33. I don’t believe it, I think it’s back! They should rename it “Lazarus”

  34. ITS ALIVE!!!!!

    It just poked out of the red filters and now into the blue filters of C3 (?). Its bright but they fear that the brightness might be the ghost of ISON.

  35. Look at the latest SOHO C3 camera images! I can’t believe it! This thing is brighter away from the sun than near it!!

  36. It seems quite unlikely that ISON is going to be the comet of the century but it is already the most entertaining comet of the century. What a cliffhanger. And this little guy is putting a hell of a fight.

  37. Everybody is saying its fizzled out and there is nothing left, but according to the most recent SOHO images there is something there, whether it is debris or the comet itself, I’m not sure. To me it looks fragmented but then again, I am no professional.


    ISON looks like a giant wedge on the sky… How come did the tail grew that large (yet short)?

  39. Greetings from Greece.
    The comet was visible from Athens from 7:00 to 07:25 today morning local time, just before sunrise. “Moving” south – southwest, leaving a long tail. I’ll try to upload a video later.

    • Whatever you saw definitely wasn’t the comet, still too near the Sun and too small n faint yet too.

    • And you can’t see a comet moving.

      • Whaever I saw was visible from 7:00 to 7:25 local time and caught on video. I cann’t uploaded right now because I’m missing the proper usb cable.
        I spot it just before sunrise. At the horizon there was a narrow line less 1mm thin and no longer than 1,5 cm going upwards. It was bearely noticable by eye I spot it only because i was looking where I was expecting the sun to come up. I have on tape zoomed x70. At that zoom level it covers the hole screen leaving a huge tail.

      • Harry, it definitely wasn’t the comet, sorry. Whatever survived passage around the Sun is still too close to the Sun, it has no tail. Comets can’t be seen moving across the sky. They move a small amount night to night.

  40. Well ive followed this blog since Panstarr. Amazing, edge of seat stuff last night. Fingers crossed for what ever is left of Ison. And a big thanks for this blog, and all the information you have provided me.
    Thanks Steve

  41. I’m obviously too naive regarding astronomy, among other things… Could you check your opinion would be very appreciated. Thanks for your time.

  42. Harry. This is either a piece of fishing wire dangling from the front of your lens or an aircraft. I might give you the benefit of the doubt and say you might have caught fireball on camera.

    If you did, that’s cool. I’m yet to see a fireball meteor myself. 🙂

    It’s definitely no comet though. It looks like it’s inside the earths atmosphere for starters.

    • Thanks, I ‘ll upload the video tonight, these were photos of the camera screen taken form my mobile.
      It was amasing when this object appered were I was expecting to see the ISON comet !!!

  43. Exelent ISON’ comments, Phil. Very educational. ..

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