Saturday, November 30 2013 @ 11:59 PM CST
Contributed by: bobmoody
|ISON, the comet that has had astronomers awaiting its arrival for a year has made its appearance on the SOHO Observatory LASCO C3 imager on Tuesday evening around 8:30 local time. Search for yourself at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/index.html/ and watch along with nearly every observatory and amateur astronomer on the planet. It's gonna be a helluva show!|
Here is the first image from the SOHO space observatory as Comet ISON made it's visual debut around 8:30 local on Tuesday, November 26, 2013. New images will automatically upload to the SOHO website over the nighttime hours and should be very interesting until it appears as an evening comet this weekend.
Comet ISON is on the right side just emerging into view of the LASCO C3 instrument, with the full solar disc hidden by an occulting device. The brilliant swirl or loop near the Sun is a huge release of solar material known as a CME, or a "Coronal Mass Ejection". With this CME expanding in the direction away from the Sun as the comet heads toward it, can this be a cometary destroyer, or a comet brilliance infuser? Time will tell!
Watch here or go to the SOHO website at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/index.html/ It should be an interesting day or two, without doubt.
Latest Update...The coronal mass ejection is far away from where it started about 23 hours ago, and another NEW CME is being blasted away in a different direction. But in that same time period, Comet ISON had come just over half-way through the field-of-view from last evening. GO TO THE SITE IN THE CAPTION. Click on it then wait until the full movie loads and watch the comet move. Remember that the comet will whip around the solar disc (that white open circle on the occulting disc represents the diameter of the sun) at a point just under the diameter of the solar disc tonight and tomorrow morning. The amount of dust and gas is ramping up dramatically as I write.
Oh the things that happen when we aren't aware of them happening...awesome!
|Latest image, roughly 24 hours after the top image.|
Here's another picture representing the path of Comet ISON as it rounds the Sun and rapidly races back out into the cold depths of space.
I still can not gain access to the SOHO site links above, but Dave Grosvold has posted an image showing the indisputable remnants of dust and what NASA calls "at least a small core" still hanging on after Comet ISON passed precariously close to the Sun yesterday. See Dave's image in the Discussion Forum at the top of our home page, in the ISON topic post.
Now we see it...oops, now we DON'T! What gives? I can only speculate as of now (midnight Dec 1st) as to there being enough of whatever remains of ISON to constitute any hope for seeing it after tomorrow. All any of us can do now is keep tuning in to the NASA.GOV website or to the SOHO links I provided above. The SOHO sites will be useless after tomorrow as whatever remains moves out of the field-of-view of the LASCO C3 instrument. You MUST go to the Discussion Forum topic on "ISON on SOHO, NOW!" and scroll down to the last image in the topic. The proof is there.
For myself, I will not keep posting on something that may only be a ghost from now on. It could have been a lot of fun to have a naked eye comet between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but, well, I'm just disappointed now.
|My last image? possibly so. It seems that David Levy's quote "comets are like cats" statement is still true. Cats and comets have tails, and they both do whatever THEY want to, not what we'd like for them to do...HA!|
The thing with comets that will remain true till the end of time still holds; there are billions, even trillions of comets out there and untold numbers are always headed our way every day all the time.