2013 – The Year of Comets

* Update 01/12/2013 *
There were premature reports that comet Ison may have survived as it flared briefly to life, post its close call with the sun. No chance of that resurrection now, Comet Ison is finished, leaving only a trail of dusty debris in its wake. Perhaps it might give us a good meteor shower at some point in the distant future ?

This 3 day image of Comet Isons journey around the sun, shows the comets final demise, after a brief flare up as the remnants of its icy core gave one last puff of sublimating ice. Farewell comet Ison !

Farewell Comet Ison



* Update 29/11/ 2013 *
As I wake this morning it does not look good for comet Ison, with a dramatic fading of the cometary nucleus as it makes the final dive towards the sun. NASA scientists look for the remains of the comet but it does not look good !

What is good is the great science that has come out of this, with such a fresh bright comet diving virtually into the sun revealing much about the nature of the primordial material that makes up the comets, forged at the beginnings of our solar system.

The final Moments of comet Ison ?


* Update 24/11 2013 *

Comet Ison is now coming into its own, with a spectacular display (at least for the cameras) as it makes its plunge towards a fiery encounter with the Sun. Ison has now moved into the view of NASA’s space borne observatories.

This time lapse movie from the NASA comet Ison page, is just astounding, in capturing not just comet Ison but Enke as well ! With binoculars , Ison is reported as being a green fuzzball with a tail seen by some observers. Each day this gets harder to see though, as Ison rapidly approaches the sun. Make sure you check out the spectacular images from the NASA comet ison page too.

PS: I have added a Christmas Stargazers Pack for those who would like to get started in astronomy

 the Fun and easy way, in 2014.

* Update Oct 2013 *

Having recently been out for a comet hunting morning I have found Michael Mattiazzo’s  Southern Comets Homepage page  to be the most helpful around for southern hemisphere comets.

The link to comet charts at the bottom of the page are particularly useful, as without them you have little chance of finding these comets, that are otherwise invisible (or nearly so) to the naked eye.

Comet Ison is still the one to watch as it steadily brightens to naked Eye visibility & hopefully cometary greatness !

Below is a table of the top 4 currently visible comets and their predicted size and Magnitudes over the next month :



Comet Constellation

November 1st

November 15th

November 30th

Observations as of (UT)
Mag Diam Mag Diam Mag Diam
C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) Cancer 6.7 15.1′ 5.1 22.9′ 4.8 19.9′ 2013 November 1
2P/Encke Virgo 7.3 9.8′ 5.0 6.5′ 6.2 4.4′ 2013 October 31
C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) Coma Berenices 8.1 8.1′ 7.7 8.6′ 7.3 9.1′ 2013 October 31
C/2012 S1 (ISON) Leo 9.1 4.8′ 6.9 6.6′ 1.4 6.5′ 2013 October 31


* Update Aug 2013

NASA is keeping a close Eye on Comet Ison & this latest footage from Hubble, shows just what it is up to  and in particular the observing campaign that is being carried out from the vantage point of equipment on Mars:


2013 is being hailed as the year of the comet & it is off to a very good start with comets Lemmon & Panstarrs making a dramatic entrance into the southern skies as seen in this spectacular Video shot in Victoria on 17th Feb.

These comets are achieving faint naked eye visibility and clearly are well worth a look !


Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS sweeping through the Southern Skies from Alex Cherney on Vimeo.

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