Canceled Meetup

Astrophotography: Comet ISON

Location visible to members


Looking increasingly unlikely to happen. "The chance for a naked eye visibility is highly unlikely". Watch the GIF animation, copyright ( (20 mb, very slow loading). The comet came out very bright behind the sun, but then fizzled really quickly, barely visibly after only 2 days and expected to get more faint.

Change of Venue: I figured out that Rexhame beach is facing NE, instead SE, hence, is not suitable for this. I have a couple options and need a show of hands where to go, one is north the other south. Both locations are the same distance for me, I tend to prefer Nahant. Which do you prefer - comment below.

Option 1: Nahant, Lodge Park. Definitely a more interesting location, some dramatic rocks, but nothing in your view south east:

Option 2: Marshfield's Green Harbor beach, which is not as interesting, but has a couple of rock jetties reaching into the water, which you can or not include into your shot as foreground:

This meetup is to watch and photograph comet ISON, the second comet in 2013 to be visible to the naked eye. Some expect it to be very bright, some others will wait to judge.

Here is a good NASA video ( to explain the path and nature of the comet.

The comet reaches its perihelion (closest point to the sun) on 28-Nov, it will not be visible on 27 and 29-Nov. Excellent summary is here (

On 26-Nov, it rises above the horizon around 6:10, about 40 minutes before sunrise (which is 6:50). This is perhaps the most likely to see it without risking break-up when it passes the sun.

If it comes back out without breaking up, it will be brighter and visible to the naked eye and perhaps even during daylight, depending on how much it outgasses.

On 30-Nov, it rises at 6:27, 26 minutes before sunrise and then earlier each day until it rises at 4:00 a.m. on 16-Dec. However, the longer from the perihelion, the fainter it will be. I decided to try this out around the beginning of December. Saturday 07-Dec looks good, because no moon, comet rises around 5:30 in dark skies and rises high without the sun being close and this is also a good time to get up and meet without work in the way. Not much traffic, either (both road and sky).

We will meet at Rexhame Beach, where we met before, the comet will be in the eastern/south-eastern sky.

If we are successful capturing it, there is a photo contest for the best ISON image ( I am hoping that we can see the rising moon along with the comet and capture it in one shot, which would look awesome. That should be possible around 01-Dec with a waning 10% moon crescent. Looking East/South-East, we will also have the Milky Way as a backdrop, so theoretically, it's a wonderful combination. Let's hope for clear skies.

I may reschedule or repeat the meetup on short notice as news about the comet or the weather change.

The sky on the 7th around 6 a.m., the comet will be around Saturn/Spica:

Here is the meeting place (,+-70.67825&hl=en&ll=42.122498,-70.678246&spn=0.011968,0.016887&sll=42.122498,-70.67831&sspn=0.011968,0.016887&t=h&z=16), the parking lot of Rexhame Beach. Coordinates are 42.1225, -70.67825

Suggested equipment: long lenses! Bring the longest zoom you own and if you have a tele-converter, bring that, too. I have a Sigma 120-400mm and a 2x tele-converter, making for a nice 800mm focal length. Bring wide angles, too, for shooting stars or Milky Way before, and, of course, your tripod and remote/intervalometer. This will be COLD, dress in layers, head gear and gloves and bring warmers, hot fluids etc. Hiking boots to roam around the beach. The parking lot is very close to warm up or keep blankets.

If anyone has additions or differing opinions, let me know by email.