Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti


Comet  ISON C/2012 S1

Fall 2013

Comet ISON C/2012 S1 was much hyped to be the "comet of the century".  It certainly had the potential being this would be its first encounter rounding our sun with a path bringing it perilously close, less than 1 million miles!  That unfortunately would also prove to be its demise.  As some astronomers speculated, Comet ISON might not survive such a close encounter and break apart as it approached perihelion on November 28, 2013. 

The comet became visible in small telescopes during the month of September and I was able to obtain a few wide-field images with my 4" refractor during the month of October.  The comet was very dim at this point, but I was at times able to group it with a few other interesting celestial objects.  As the comet approached the sun during November it became barely visible in binoculars during the pre-dawn hours, but even though it was brightening with each passing day it was also getting closer and closer to the sun which was quickly washing any chance of seeing the comet with the naked eye, and great precautions would have to be taken for anyone chancing to see it so close to the sun.  The hopes were for an after perihelion show in early December when ISON would re-emerge from behind the sun with the possibility of being a once in a lifetime bright daytime comet with a magnificent tail in the morning sky!  This would be the time to capture ISON in all her glory, and all the early photos would just be a lead up to the main show.  Unfortunately, it was not to be as all that remained of the comet was perhaps a few dusty pieces and a dim tail, far below the threshold of the human eye and most amateur telescopes.

October 8, 2013 5:30am

ISON (center) & a Faint Galaxy smudge (lower right)

Magnitude +10.4    TeleVue NP101is 540mm f5.4 T1i     One 3 minute exposure @ ISO 800


October 19, 2013 5:00 - 5:30am

ISON & Mars

Magnitude +9.4    TeleVue NP101is 540mm f5.4 T1i     Three 1.5 minute exposures @ ISO 800


October 20, 2013 5:00 - 5:30am

ISON & Mars

Magnitude +9.3    TeleVue NP101is 540mm f5.4 T1i     Twelve 45 second exposures @ ISO 800

8:14pm EDT - 400mm @ f5.6 - 2 second exposure - ISO 1600 


October 24, 2013 5:30 - 6:20am

ISON - Mars & Blue Star RhoLeo Triangle

Magnitude +9.2    TeleVue TV60is 360mm f6.0 5D MII      Nine 2 minute exposures @ ISO 800

November 23, 2013 6:17am

ISON (faint in middle) - Spica (top) - Mercury (left center)

Magnitude +5.4    Canon 6D w/70-200mm f2.8L @ 70mm       1/13 second exposure @ ISO 800 f2.8




Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors