Showtime for Comet ISON

I’ve just returned from three weeks in Chile leading a group of 87 astronomy enthusiasts, searching for the comet. We did finally see it, starting November 6, but it was a dim, tailless eight-magnitude smudge, at least six times dimmer than initial predictions. Special photographic techniques showed a long thin tail, but no tail appeared through our telescopes to the eye alone.

Comet Lovejoy higher up in the sky was much brighter and far easier to find, and yet even Lovejoy was no spectacle. I’m starting to hate comets. This attitude puts me in sync with thousands . . .

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