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Sun, 03 Nov 2013 - Four comets in the pre-dawn sky

Although Comet 2012 S1 (ISON) has had most of the media attention, there are also three other moderately bright comets currently on view:

Comet 2013 R1 (Lovejoy) is currently the brightest and is expected to brighten further as it passes through Cancer towards Ursa Major. On Nov 7 it passes close to the Praesepe cluster (M44)

Comet 2012 X1 (LINEAR) was only expected to be around mag 13 this month. However, on Oct 20, it flared up in brightness by six magnitudes (in a similar way to that shown by comet 17P/Holmes in 2007), but will fade as the ejected cloud of material slowly disperses. It is currently moving from Coma Berenices into Bootes and will pass close to Arcturus during Nov 16-17.

Comet 2P/Encke is currently in Virgo but is rapidly heading towards the morning twilight as it approaches perilhelion on Nov 21. It passes by Delta Virginis on Nov 4.

Comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is currently the faintest of these comets. It is predicted to brighten by several magnitudes during November, but its elongation from the Sun is also decreasing. It is currently in Leo, passing to the north of Tau Leonis on Nov 4 and is heading into Virgo.

Here is a link to the video of Jonathan Shanklin's talk on the prospects for Comet ISON from the recent SPA meeting in London :


Added by: Robin Scagell