Comet ISON (C/2012 S1)

Version 19.11.2013 Martin Elsaesser,

Observing the comet from the Sudelfeld on 18. November

Due to permanent high-level cloud cover in Munich a guest from Oman and me drove to the mountains in the south, to the well-known Sudelfeld at 1100m height. Starting at 03:30 we found clear skies and a bright full moon, with some snow on the ground. Temperatures were around -2 Celsius, not to bad.
We stayed there for two hours and experienced quickly changing weather: The clouds/fog moved quickly, often giving clear views of the horizon but shortly after icy fog surrounded us again. Through the fog we could see interesting fog-bows of the moon and nice colorfull rings around the moon itself. Sadly this often obscured the view of the comets.
A local astronomer with a nice 8" dobsonian was also there and we had a nice view of the comet Lovejoy with his instrument. Thank you!
We had brought some 25x100 binoculars, a small astronomical mount and several cameras for imaging the comet and capturing the scenery.

Visual observation was strongly affected by the bright moon but we could still see the comet easily just left of Spica and also could spot some tail, about 1.5 in length. Comet Encke rose later to the right of planet Mercury, but was impossible to see with the binoculars in the bright twilight. Only in some images could we find it, similar to comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) which was just left of the bright star Arcturus.


Komet ISON
Comet ISON with tail left of Spica. Sum of 7 images with 20s each taken through a 300mm lens.
Komet ISON mit Flugzeug
Trail of a plane flying past the comet
Bunte Ringe um den Mond
The ice-fog produced nice colorful rings around the full moon, which was located between plejades and hyades.
Strahlen des Mond
Rays of the moon in the thick fog, soon after the moon vanished behind the local hills.
Komet ISON am 18.11.2013
View over the Inn valey filled with fog, with Spica high over the Zahmer Kaiser mountains. ISON is to the left of Spica. The fog was below us at this point. Down below and to the left the planet Mercury has risen, but the comet Encke next to it can not be seen in this image.
Komet Encke und Merkur
Bright Mercury is located to the left of the faint comet Encke. The many colors are an artifact of the image processing approach.

The next few weeks will be very interesting for this comet...

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