Stargazing: Comet ISON


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When Comet ISON was discovered in 2012, there was a lot of excitement in the astronomy community. Many people believed that it would put on a spectacular display and become the "comet of the century." Comet ISON, however, has not brightened at the rate that would make it a worldwide sensation. It's still too dim for naked-eye viewing. We really won't know how bright the comet will become until Thanksgiving Day when it swings around the sun. Comet ISON will, however, have a close encounter with Spica and pass Mercury and Saturn in the morning sky this week.

With your binoculars, look for Comet ISON Tuesday morning when it sits about 5 degrees to the lower left of Virgo's brightest star Spica in the east-southeastern sky, one hour before sunrise. By Friday morning, the comet will sit about 5 degrees to the right of Mercury. Comet ISON will pass both Mercury and Saturn by Sunday morning when it sits about 5 degrees to the lower right of our "morning stars."


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