Update On Comet Ison

Comet ISON as it travels through space

Where It Is Now

Various astronomical publications are now reporting that Comet ISON can now b seen by backyard astronomers as it races through the sky towards its rendezvous with our nearest star, the sun. The comet is still too small to be seen with the naked eye, but amateur astronomers can find the comet by turning their telescopes towards the planet Mars and then searching for the star, Regulus.  Those who wish to know the exact hour by hour coordinates can go here.

In 2011 Comet Lovejoy put on quite a show for people in the Southern Hemisphere

A Real Sungrazer

We won’t know for sure until after Thanksgiving, if ISON will survive its trip around the sun, but if it does the close pass could turn this comet into a spectacular astronomical event. If it does ISON should remain visible to us earthlings, even those that don’t have telescopes, until the new year. Right now all indications from space observers indicate that ISON will survive its trip around the sun. Let’s hope so, for this comet could add some beautiful fireworks for the holiday season.

Comet ISON as captured by Hubble

 

Winter Lights

Christmas lights, Portland, Maine
downtown Christmas lights in Portland, Maine

The solstice has now passed and the days are getting longer, but the thermometer is dropping, as the New Year quickly approaches.

What better time to walk around in the freezing cold and photograph some of the seasonal creations that are on display in this northern city, where hours of actual daylight dips below ten hours.

Perhaps this explains why some of the older cultures resorted to building large bonfires to light up the winter night sky.

Nowadays, in the modern era we have the electricity to do the chore for us.

Here in Portland the popular thing to do is to decorate the tress or buildings with balls of lights. It really does look quite splendid in the long winter sky, but I have noticed that the lighting displays have become increasing thinner as the nation struggles throught he darkness of lean economic times.

Tree with lights
tree with lights in Deering Park in Portland Maine

Here is another picture taken from the city park with a hint of afterglow in the night sky. This concept of hanging lights on trees is quite unique to my eyes and quite wonderful as well.

And finally one more picture of some lights on a tree along with the moon in the night sky which is close to full.

Such is the wonder of the new digital technology, which allows me to go out and take the night picture with a hand held Kodak digital camera, come home and slide the SD card into the slot on my computer and post this picture just hours after it was taken. Best wishes and a Happy New Year, Everett Autumn

Christmas-lights-and-moon
Christmas lights covering a tree accented by the moon