Comet ISON, formally known as C/2012 S1, was a sungrazing comet from the Oort Cloud that was discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitaly Nevsky and Artyom Novichonok of the International Scientific Optical Network.
Over a period of about a year, numerous spacecraft and ground-based observations tracked the comet and recorded how it changed as it approached the Sun.
These included the Hubble Space Telescope and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (arguably 2 of the most important telescopes ever conceived).
A Hubble Space Telescope image of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) captured during 10 April 2013, when the comet was 386 million miles from the Sun. Credit: NASA, ESA, J.-Y. Li (Planetary Science Institute), and the Hubble Comet ISON Imaging Science Team
C/2012 S1 (ISON) made its closest approach to the Sun at a distance of around 1,866,000km on 28 November 2013, during which time it heated up so much that it disintegrated.
While it was visible in the night sky, the comet was observed and photographed by amateur astronomers, comet chasers and astrophotographers on Earth, and many imagers sent in their photos to us.
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) imaged by the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The comet is the white, triangular object seen at the 11/12 o’clock positions. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
Below is a selection of images of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON).
For advice on astro imaging, read our beginner’s guide to astrophotography or discover our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.
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Comet C/2012 S1 ISON 29th March 2012 by Graham Edridge, Stamford, Lincs. UK. Equipment: Meade 10″ LX200 GPS, Atik 383L+ mono CCD, Baader 2″ IR filter.
A Shot in a Million of Comet ISON and a Meteor by Mike Duviau, Preston, Lancashire, UK. Equipment: Atik 383L mono CCD, Orion star shot autoguider, NEQ6 Pro mount
Comet C/2012 S1 ISON – 5.30am to 6.00am Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 by Lawrence Dunn, Southampton, New Forest, UK. Equipment: FSQ106, Atik 460EX mono, AP900GTO (unguided this time)
Comet ISON by Simon Wilson, Bakewell, UK. Equipment: Takahashi FSQ85, Atik 460ex, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount