Friday, October 18, 2013

Comet Hunt for October

Comet ISON is in the morning sky, but I haven't seen it. I took some photos of the region this week. In the photo below, ISON is supposed to be a coupled degrees distant from Mars and Regulus (the two bright stars in the picture):

I scrutinized the picture, but can find no sign of a comet, suggesting that viewing the comet needs a telescope, which can improve the contrast between it and the glow of my light polluted sky. Perhaps a longer exposure under a darker sky would reveal the comet. My photos were taken on the morning of Oct 16. By now, the full moon interferes, so the next prime opportunity to search will be in about 9 days.

Meanwhile, the morning sky enabled my first photo of the southern star Canopus, which is the second brightest star in the sky. Here is Canis Major, with canopus on the horizon (just right of the tree).

This  is the same area, but a little longer exposure. The stars and star clusters in Canis Major are easier to see, but Canopus is not as bright because it hadn't yet cleared the tree:

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest in Canis Major. Canopus is the second brightest star in the night sky. It is rare for northern hemisphere observers to see both. 


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