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Comet C/2012 S1, "ISON" Once-in-a-civilization's-lifetime! Observing Challenge

Color painting of comet over 17th century city.
The Great Comet of 1680 over Rotterdam, the Netherlands

2013 is certainly turning out to be the year of the comet and possibly the year of small bodies! 2012 DA-14, C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS, C/2012 F6 Lemmon, 2P Encke, C/2012 S1 ISON and a wealth of other NEOs passing within 0.1 AU of the Earth, some within only a few lunar distances (

But the big event seems like it will be comet C/2012 S1 ISON or just ISON for short. Comet ISON (discovered by the Russian International Scientific Optical Network) will be at perihelion on November 28th, 2013... Thanksgiving Day! It belongs to a class of comets called sun grazers as it will pass only 0.12 AU from the sun on that day. Its orbit is similar to the Great Comet of 1680 (C/1680 V1 Kirch) so it may be related.

You can get a NASA Certificate of Participation by sending us your photographs or sketches of Comet ISON or by sending us pictures you have taken or sketches you have made of other comets.

Post your images on the Comet ISON Flickr Group. Include your name, date and time of the observation, location, and any other information such as telescope, camera, eyepiece, lens, observing conditions, etc.

Once your image has been uploaded, you can fill in your 2013 Comet ISON Observing Campaign Certification of Participation (JPG, 173 KB) and print it out.

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Last Updated: 4 Nov 2014