Organizer: The Japan Astronomy Council Comet ISON Campaign Committee
Supporting Organizations: Japan Telescope Manufacturers Association
AstroArts Inc.

In early November, Comet ISON will be located fairly high in the early morning eastern sky, just under Mars. Observations in this period will still require a telescope. Spica, a magnitude 1 star in the constellation Virgo, will be a good marker on November 18 when Comet ISON moves near it. Although Comet ISON will grow brighter as the days pass, as the height at which it can be seen in the sky will go down, it is recommended to observe the comet from a place in which the eastern horizon is not obscured. Observation should be possible through binoculars towards the end of November when Comet ISON has grown even brighter. If conditions are right, you may even be able to find Comet ISON unaided with the naked eye. By about the November 24, low in the eastern sky, Comet ISON will be able to be seen directly to the right of Mercury and Saturn. On November 29, Comet ISON will be at its closest to the Sun! However, due to its extreme proximity to the Sun and low elevation above the horizon, conditions are not suited for the observation of Comet ISON for a few days around this date. Please be sufficiently careful so as not to accidentally look into the Sun.

November 05 06:14 a.m.
November 15 06:27 a.m.
November 25 06:39 a.m.

November 05 06:06 a.m.
November 15 06:17 a.m.
November 25 06:28 a.m.

November 05 06:06 a.m.
November 15 06:16 a.m.
November 25 06:26 a.m.

November 05 06:21 a.m.
November 15 06:31 a.m.
November 25 06:41 a.m.

November 05 06:40 a.m.
November 15 06:50 a.m.
November 25 06:59 a.m.

November 05 06:41 a.m.
November 15 06:48 a.m.
November 25 06:55 a.m.

In early December, Comet ISON will once again be able to be observed in the eastern sky before sunrise. This will be the best period to see Comet ISON. In this period, it is possible that the body of the comet will fragment and violently release gas. A long tail may become visible behind the comet in the pre-dawn sky. Although Comet ISON will rise higher into the sky and get darker as the days pass, if predictions are correct, it will still be bright enough to be seen with binoculars into the second half of December. From the end of the month Comet ISON will also be visible after sundown in the northwestern sky and pass closest to the Earth on December 27. At this point we will get a side-on view of the comet’s tail. Hereafter, Comet ISON’s position will gradually shift northward and no longer disappear beneath the horizon during the night from the end of December. While the comet will also be moving further away from the Sun and will be quite dark, it will be in an easy to spot position and should still be able to be observed for quite some time with a telescope for astronomy. Comet ISON will move closest to the Polar Star on January 8.


December 05 06:50 a.m.
December 15 06:59 a.m.
December 25 07:04 a.m.

December 05 06:38 a.m.
December 15 06:46 a.m.
December 25 07:51 a.m.

December 05 06:35 a.m.
December 15 06:43 a.m.
December 25 06:48 a.m.

December 05 06:50 a.m.
December 15 06:57 a.m.
December 25 07:03 a.m.

December 05 07:08 a.m.
December 15 07:15 a.m.
December 25 07:20 a.m.

December 05 07:02 a.m.
December 15 07:09 a.m.
December 25 07:14 a.m.

Because it is very difficult to predict the brightness and visibility of a comet, it is not possible to say how bright it will be until the comet actually comes closer. Especially for comets like Comet ISON, which have orbits that take them extremely close to the Sun, it is possible that the comet may break apart and disappear altogether when close to the Sun. How will Comet ISON present itself to us this winter? Let’s keep our eyes on Comet ISON and hope for a good show!