Observing Comet ISON in September will take as much dedication (and probably coffee!) as observing it in August did, because it is a pre-dawn object. But by this time it should be an easy object in large telescopes, and the owners of smaller telescopes (like mine!) will be hunting for it too! It will still be a long way from naked eye or binocular brightness yet, so most of us will have to be patient a little longer…!

By the start of September the comet will be close to Mars in the sky before dawn. If you get up really early on the 5th you’ll be able to see through binoculars that a red “star” is shining in the heart of Cancer, close to the famous Beehive Star cluster. ISON will be on the *other* side of the cluster but, as I said, still only visible through telescopes.

By September 9th we’ll be able to enjoy this view through binoculars, with Mars a red star embedded in the blue stars of the Beehive. We won’t be able to see the comet through those binoculars tho – still too faint for that…

Ok… Mars INSIDE M44, with the comet to the left… hope it’s clear THAT morning!!

Below: September 10th…

7 Sept 10b

By September 29th the Moon will be poking its nose into the picture again, and on the next morning, the 30th, we’ll all be out taking photographs of a beautiful celestial show in the pre-dawn sky…

8 Sept 29

So, September will be good, and even though most of us will still not have seen ISON yet by then, with more and more amateur astronomers seeing and photographing it, and the world’s major observatories looking at it too, that’s when we’ll start to get a true feel for how fantastic – or disappointing – Comet ISON will be. But oh boy, October is when it starts to get REALLY exciting…!

20 Responses to “SEPTEMBER 2013”

  1. We are all looking for the next Hale Bopp, but with our UK Weather it is not wise to get your hopes up, But with the predictions for 2013 and 2014
    one can not help but feel a little excited, after the last display during 1997, we have been waiting a long time,
    So come on Comet Ison,,,,,,,

    Kevin Edenbridge Kent UK

  2. why aren’t you all looking for the return of Christ instead of stupid Hale -Bopp?

    • No one is looking for the return of Hale Bopp, the comet is called PANSTARRS if you’d bothered to read the piece properly.

    • And this is a scientific blog, not a religious one. Facts only here.

    • Why … because we can see a comet coming millions of miles away and be hopeful and excited about its appearance. However the hopeful return of Jesus is a matter of Faith.

  3. @Joanna Eddy
    Don’t use Astronomy (Real Science) based blogs for commenting and promoting Astrology (FAKE Science!)

  4. I saw ISON? this morning @ 5:38 AM with the naked eye as well as four others traveling southeast on the highway. If this was not ison then I don’ know what it was. I do know that it’s visibility with the naked eye was amazing! could even make out the tail.

    • Sorry, Joshua, but you didn’t see ISON. As my blog says it can only be seen in a fairly large telescopes at the moment, it’s nowhere near bright enough to see with the naked eye, and also you can’t see comets moving across the sky, they only move a very small amount night to night. Sounds like you saw an impressive meteor or fireball tho!

  5. I too saw that meteor/fireball, it passed directly from west to east in the center of the sky. First time I ever saw one & it was quite fiery & impressive! I’m located in SE Michigan.

  6. this is a comet made up mostly from ice?therefore this would influence the brightness due to the suns heat??please explain ??thank you,,,j

    • Good question 🙂 what we’re seeing when we see any comet, not just ISON, is a cloud of gas and dust around it and trailing away from it. Essentially, the dust cloud reflects sunlight, so appears to shine. The gas is actually excited by the energy from the Sun and glows. The nearer the comet gets to the Sun the more active it becomes so it appears brighter to us. But fly to a ‘naked’ comet and you’d see it’s a very dark object. That’s an incredibly simplified version, but that’s about it.

  7. thanks for your reply,if can add..does the suns gravity pull affect its speed at does it speed up or slow down??and if the sun exhibits a large solar flare as it passes by does this affect the comets exit trajectory/orbit and or brightness despite it being made up of gasses/dust( Im thinking that anything soild on that comet would be perhaps destroyed or damaged in some way)from the intense radiation/heat being generated,,thanks..j

  8. Am I seeing Antares or nebula or a comet around 9 p.m. SW sky from Texas. Lights flickering green, red, blue, white. Thought it was a helicopter off in the distance then noticed it was stationary. Two other stars equidistance but a little lower.

  9. Well Done!

  10. What is considered a “large telescope?” Is my 10″ Dob too small to see this yet?

  11. wow love that night sky

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