Comet ISON - C/2012 S1
 
     Comet ISON, formally known as C/2012 S1, was a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski  (Vitebsk, Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (Kondopoga, Russia). The discovery was made using the 0.4-meter (16 inch) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. Data processing was carried out by automated asteroid-discovery program CoLiTec. Precovery images by the Mount Lemmon Survey from 28 December 2011 and by Pan-STARRS from 28 January 2012 were quickly located. Follow-up observations were made on 22 September by a team from Remanzacco Observatory in Italy using the iTelescope network. The discovery was announced by the Minor Planet Center on 24 September. Observations by Swift in January 2013 suggested that Comet ISON's nucleus was around 5 kilometers (3 mi) in diameter. Later estimates were that the nucleus was only about 2 kilometers (1 mi) in diameter. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observations suggested the nucleus was smaller than 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi) in diameter.
 
     Comet ISON was at first suspected to have disintegrated on 28 November 2013 (the day of perihelion passage) from the Sun's heat and tidal forces. However, later that day CIOC (NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign) members discovered a coma-like feature, suggesting a small fragment of it may have survived perihelion. On 29 November 2013, the coma dimmed to an apparent magnitude of 5. By the end of 30 November 2013, the coma had further faded to below naked-eye visibility at magnitude 7. On 1 December, the coma continued to fade even further as it finished traversing the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's view. By 2 December 2013, the CIOC announced that Comet ISON had fully disintegrated, though NASA continues to investigate the possibility that an inactive fragment could have survived. The Hubble Space Telescope's wide-field camera will attempt to recover fragments of ISON on 19 December 2013.

Technical Info:

Optics        :   Meade 10" + CCDT67 @ F8 @ 2020 mm

Mount        :   EQ6 (Belt Mod)

Guiding      :   Telescope Service OAG9 + SX Lodestar

Acquisition :    BackyardEOS 3.0.1 

Exposure    :   17 x 60 sec @ ISO1600  - 17 Minute Total

Stacking     :   PixInsight 1.8 RC7

​Processing  :   PixInsight 1.8 RC7

Technical Info:

Optics        :   Meade 10" + CCDT67 @ F8 @ 2020 mm

Mount        :   EQ6 (Belt Mod)

Guiding      :   Telescope Service OAG9 + SX Lodestar            

Acquisition :    BackyardEOS 3.0.1 

Exposure    :   8 x 120 sec @ ISO1600  - 16 Minute Total

Stacking     :   PixInsight 1.8 RC7

​Processing  :   PixInsight 1.8 RC7

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     12 hours before I took those images, I didn't even planned to touch the equipment, not to say driving to the desert. Because it was Friday night ahead and I knew that the skies ruled by the Full Moon. Then I had a phone call from my friend and we had a conversation about upcoming comet and how we going to loose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch it, during which he mentioned that the Moon should set minutes just before the sunrise...

 

     Around 02:00 in the morning we were in the field. After checking the Moonset time, Sunrize and ISON location, it came out that we should have some small window of opportunity.The Moon were setting at 04:25. Sunrize going to be in 05:10 while ISON would be just from 15° to 20° above horizon. Just some 30 minutes of fun time. Luckily, the atmosphere were clear and no cloud formations were on our way.

 

     When ready, I shoot series of 17 guided frames, 60 sec each. First image is a result of processing this set of images. The ISON's glowing core clearly visible and Bow Shock effect is easy to spot on.

 

     That took me 17 minutes and I had some couple of minutes left to shoot. I decided to get a bit deeper images of the comet and went for 2 minutes exposures. Sun had rose as expected and I've managed to get 8 frames. Processing this set of images allowed me to apply Dynamic Range Compression to reveal the capsule shape core of the Comet as seen on the second image. I'm glad that I took this opportunity without knowing that the ISON would not provide a second chance.

 

 

Science Channel - Supercomet ISON (2013)

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     Both of my Images were honored to be posted in the article in local website news channel, that can be seen HERE (In Hebrew) and more so, the ISON's core image were aired on TV prime channel evening News. 

 

     I would like to address special thanks to Dr. Igal Pat-El, Chairman of Israeli Astronomy Assosiation, who also runs Givataim Observatory since 1987, among other things he does for amateur astronomers.

 Copyright  © 2019  Sergio Kaminsky. All rights reserved.