Comet 2012 S1 ISON brightens to 16th Mag

 The Comet 2012 S1 ISON is becoming brighter!  It has gone from magnitude 18 in September to magnitude 16. 


Comet 2012 S1 ISON November 13, 2012

Comet 2012 S1 ISON is still expected to be a great comet in the fall of 2013 when the comet approaches to the sun down to only 0.01 A.U. It should remain visible with naked eyes from November, 2013 to January, 2014, and might be as bright as Venus.  Seiichi Yoshida in Japan reports that it was at 17.2 mag on October 12.

It is certainly brighter at this point -- somewhere in the 16 magnitude range.  It is now in the constellation Virgo.

The comet becomes more visible by inverting the colors on the photo below - it is still a barely visible dot.

The comet, as you can see, remains dim.  How do I know that particular dot is the comet?  By taking several photographs over a three hour period.  The dot that moves is the comet.

Drawing an imaginary line between two stars, you can see one dot moving in relation to that line.

How do I know where to point the telescope?  The Minor Planet Center (MPC) operates a web page that provides an ephemeris for comets and minor planets.  The MPC operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, under the auspices of Division III of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).