Comet C/2012 S1 ISON in the morning sky

Comet C/2012 S1 ISON (or just “ISON” for short) has been in the news for many months. Some have predicted that it will be the comet of the year…or decade…or whatever. So far, it’s been just a normal comet that isn’t easily seen without at least binoculars this week or a telescope in previous weeks and months.

ISON is rapidly heading for a close encounter with the sun and, if it survives, should become a brighter and more interesting celestial object in the next few weeks.

Earlier this week, ISON began to brighten as it approached the sun. At the same time, it was moving into morning twilight and the moon was high in the sky. These two factors made it more difficult to see the faint tail of the comet. Still, it was worth getting up in the pre-dawn hours and setting up the camera to get some images.

Below is a composite of images taken on 17 November and 18 November. They clearly show how far the comet moved in a 24-hour period.

Comet ISON in the morning twilight of a cold November morning.
Comet ISON in the morning twilight of a cold November morning.

 

A larger view shows Comet ISON in the upper right with the planet Mercury rising above the clouds in the lower left.

 

Comet ISON and planet Mercury in early morning twilight.
Comet ISON and planet Mercury in early morning twilight.

Hopefully Comet ISON will become a bright object in the sky in late November and early December — and prove some of predictions correct.