It’s not very well known around these parts, but I am somewhat of an amateur astronomer. I have a few telescopes, (and one camera lens that might as well be a telescope), and have spent many an hour outside gazing at the stars.
All of the National Parks I go to I try and stay out to get a night shot in the darkness, sometimes they come out amazing:
So, it should be known that in the coming days there is a chance to see something truly unique, a comet that so far has lived up to its hype.
Comet ISON, was discovered over a year ago and is making it’s first (and probably only) trip into our solar system. The ~2 mile wide body of rock and ice will get to around 700,000 miles away from the Sun’s surface, at which point no one knows what will happen to it. The comet is so small, and it’s getting so close that it could evaporate, disintegrate, or continue on like a boss.
It’s currently on it’s way to the sun, and will get there Nov. 28, 2013, if it survives, it could become amazing. But you don’t need to wait till next week to go see it, you can see it now. It’s even a naked eye object if you have sufficiently dark skies. If not, a simple pair of binoculors, and the knowing where to look is all you need. Oh, and you have to get up at around 4:30am.
Sky And Telescope has a handy guide to show you where & when to look for when it passes the sun (starting Dec. 01, 2013):
Damian Peach has managed to capture what I consider to be one of the most beautiful space photos I have ever seen of this comet earlier this week:
Unless you have a serious telescope, and you know how to use it, don’t expect to see something like that.
Anyway, you should go outside and look for this comet.
I tried the other day, but clouds were in the way. But I’ll keep trying this is a once in a forever chance.