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MicroObservatory catches comet ISON

Date:
November 18, 2013
Source:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Summary:
Comet ISON recently brightened and is currently visible with telescopes or binoculars in the constellation Virgo.
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Hopes are high for Comet ISON, which has the potential to become the most spectacular comet seen in years. ISON is speeding through the inner solar system at about 120,000 miles per hour, on its way to a close approach to the Sun on November 28th.
Credit: Image courtesy of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Hopes are high for Comet ISON, which has the potential to become the most spectacular comet seen in years. ISON is speeding through the inner solar system at about 120,000 miles per hour, on its way to a close approach to the Sun on November 28th. Assuming it survives its close encounter, it could become easily visible to the unaided eye in dawn skies.

Comet ISON recently brightened and is currently visible with telescopes or binoculars in the constellation Virgo. Today the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is releasing a new image of ISON obtained with the MicroObservatory robotic telescope system.

In the image the comet displays a fuzzy round coma and a tail extending to upper right beyond the edge of the frame.

Photos were taken on the morning of Saturday, November 9 by retired teacher Bruce Mellin using MicroObservatory's "Donald" telescope in Arizona. The 650 by 500 pixel images show an area of the sky 0.9 by 0.7 degrees in size. (For comparison, the Full Moon is half a degree across.)

MicroObservatory is a network of automated telescopes, developed by CfA scientists and educators, that can be controlled over the Internet. They were designed to enable students and teachers nationwide to investigate the wonders of the deep sky from their classrooms or after-school centers.

Its five telescopes are named for prominent astronomers through history: Annie Jump Cannon, Benjamin Banneker, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Donald Menzel, and Edward Pickering.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "MicroObservatory catches comet ISON." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118133046.htm>.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. (2013, November 18). MicroObservatory catches comet ISON. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118133046.htm
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "MicroObservatory catches comet ISON." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118133046.htm (accessed August 1, 2015).

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