Results From Comet ISON Observing Campaign Published
Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) had a very close approach to the Sun during November 2013 before it was destroyed by intense solar radiation. Comet ISON was monitored for nearly a year before its final demise. As the observing geometry of the comet was not ideal for continuous observations from a given location for more than a few hours per night, PSI Senior Scientist Nalin Samarasinha led a global effort to monitor the evolution of its coma morphology. The other organizers of the campaign included PSI Senior Scientist Beatrice Mueller. The team collected images from both professionals and amateurs. Results from this campaign are now published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, where authors describe the evolution of coma morphology and place constraints on the activity and rotation of the nucleus of Comet ISON. This work highlights the relevance of professional-amateur collaborations for astronomical research. A network of observers around the world can provide a much better time coverage of the evolution of coma features than that from a single location.
Above, a series of digitally enhanced images showing the evolution of ISON’s coma morphology after an outburst event that occurred on Nov. 12, 2013. Notice the development of wing-like coma features approximately two days after the outburst.
Image credits: N. Howes and colleagues; Z.-Y. Lin and colleagues; D. Vogel; C. Pruzenski and colleagues; and E. Gomez and colleagues).