The long awaited comet ISON, forecasted to be very bright, is finally living up to its expectations. Last week, around November 14, an outburst took place with brightened the comet significantly, so that it is now visible with binoculars, and under really good circumstances, maybe with the naked eye. With only one week until perihelion (the closest distance to the sun, on November 28, 2013) the comet is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to detect and will soon disappear in the glow of the sun. If the comet survives its close encounter with the sun, it will become visible again in the first or second week of December. As comets are notoriously difficult to predict, no-one knows how the comet will look like at that time, with predictions ranging from hardly visible to very bright with a long trail. If the comet puts on a good show in the first and second week of December, the Wheaton College Observatory will open its doors to give everyone an opportunity to see the comet. Updates will be posted on our website and on our facebook page. Stay tuned!
On October 12, 2013 the Wheaton College Observatory opened its doors for the public for the occasion of the international Astronomy Day. Several telescopes were set up and pointed the moon, the famous Andromeda Galaxy and the colorful binary star Albireo. The new 24-inch telescope in the dome was open for viewing as well. With about 450 visitors, this was one of busiest events ever!