Observing Report – 2013-11-20 Comet ISON

As planned, i observed comet c/2012 S1 (ISON) this morning between 5:45am and 6:15am est. It was actually higher above the trees than “Starry Night” predicted, so i could have started my observations earlier and therefore had darker skies. (Astronomical twilight ended at 5:20.) As it was, the sky was starting to brighten and i think this hid the tail.

Comet ISON was easy to find with the 10×50 binoculars – appearing as a fuzzy “non-stellar object”. With the 70mm f/6.8 scope and the 5mm Hyperion at 96x magnification it was clear that this was a comet. The core was obvious and brighter than the surrounding halo.  The tail could not really be seen but i had the impression that the halo was elongated in the correct direction.

I captured a few images with the Canon T4i (unmodified) with the 70-300mm zoom at 200mm and fully open at f/5.0. I was using the camera tripod so limited the exposure to 2seconds at ISO1600. Of the 17 images, only 4 were usable. The others exhibited serious camera shake even though i was using mirror lockup and a 2sec timer. I manually aligned and stacked (blended) the best 4 in Photoshop and then stretched them in PixInsight. I could not get the tail to show up very well, although with a little imagination the comet does appear teardrop shaped.

Comet c2012 s1 ISON 2013-11-20

Comet c2012 s1 ISON 2013-11-20