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Comet ISON Watch through Spacecrafts

Given that a fleet of NASA spacecrafts gave a ringside view of the comet's perihelion passage to everyone in the world and given also that many visitors to the planetarium may be unaware of this opportunity, the planetarium will be setting up a Comet ISON watch through spacecrafts, in the premises.

Displays from this comet watch were already made available to visitors from the 24th of November, using nearly realtime images from the SECCHI HI images from the STEREO ahead spacecraft.

On the 27th and 28th of November all visitors to the planetarium can view nearly real time views of the comet C2012 S1 ISON, being made available worldwide by NASA spacecrafts - STEREO, SOHO and SDO. The presentations at the planetarium will be accompanied by annotations and discussions to place the excitement involved in this, in perspective.

On the STEREO website is the following gif file created by amateur astronomer Alan Watson, showing four comets in the STEREO data from November 10th to 14th


The giff animation below (courtsey STEREO website) shows the Comet C2012 S1 ISON just entering the field of view of the Stereo ahead HI 1, using data upto November 20th.

A small animation made using images from the STEREO COR 2 images of the 26th of November. Comet ISON is just emerging into view in the lower left side of these images.

The above will be updated as more images get uploaded on the STEREO site.

Here is a giff animation for the 26 -27th of November using data from the SOHO site - Comet ISON just crosses the field of view from the lower right moving to left, in this collage of images.

An updated version of the animation using both the STEREO HI1 images and the SOHO LASCO C3 images is here.

Tail Bifurcation visible in LASCO C3 images

While nearly realtime images from STEREO site are downgraded substantially in resolution, a day or two later, better resolution images are made available and using these the following animation of the comet's inward journey towards the Sun, has been made at the planetarium and displayed with annotations for the visitors.

ISON Watch through Spacecraft images at Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi

The annotated presentation is being updated continuously during the period November 24th to November 30th and all visitors can get some fun and interest out of this at the planetarium.

In addition, there will also be observations of the Sun through projection during the morning hours.

All in all a Festival of the Comet and the Sun, at the planetarium!

Oh oh Comet nearly disintegrates and something miniscule seems to have survived

Above gif Courtsey

What John Donne and Shakespeare had to say about C2012 S1 ISON

[ | A collage]

And now

Return of the Schrodinger's Comet

The comet C2012 S1 ISON, during its perihelion passage, seems to have had substantially vaporised leaving just a tail - perhaps at that time, a small nucleus must have remained - but, whatever remained of this nucleus was not at all visible in any of the SOHO or STEREO images - maybe due to lack of reflectivity of this material.

As it swung past perihelion - more and more material may have outgassed from this remaining object - with sufficient reflective properties for a smudgy object with what appears to be two tails - remain visible.

These two tails are not pointing radially outward as yet but seem to be pointing away from the direction of its motion as also continuing to point in the direction the tail was in before perihelion - but, soon, if at all it continues to remain visible - the material will probably get pushed radially outward from the Sun.

Watching all this happening - visible to the whole world - while uncertainties continue - is certainly exciting and the planetarium has been sharing this excitement with all its visitors.

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Page last modified on November 29, 2013, at 11:06 PM EST