The Comet ISON Observer's Workshop


Dear Comet ISON Observer’s Workshop participants,         

Thank you all for participating and helping us to have a fantastic Workshop! I hope you all came away
with an increased understanding of our favorite target comet, and will be talking to each other about
your observations in the weeks and months to come. As of now we will continue to communicate with
the Observer Community through the CIOC webpage, http://www.isoncampaign.org. We have plans
to have a tag-up "course correction" telecon the first week of December to update everyone on ISON's
status through its perihelion passage. This may or may not include hosting folks at our APL conference
site, this is TBD so stay tuned. You can look forward to hearing about the first ISON science results at this
year's DPS and AGU meetings, and next March's LPSC meeting. 

- Casey   

P.S. - To watch the Workshop on-line at any time, you can go to


---------------------------------  Final Meeting Preparations (7/29/2013) ---------------------------------

Dear Comet ISON Observer’s Workshop attendees,

We thank you for your interest in the Comet ISON Observer’s Workshop. With less than one week to go until the workshop, we need to finalize a few things:

1. We need to know how many people will be attending in person at APL on August 1 and 2, and how many will be attending remotely. If you haven't already, please RSVP ASAP and tell us how you will be participating.

2. Anyone wishing to present data they have already obtained on ISON or a summary of planned observations may prepare up to 2 slides. We will try to accommodate everyone who wants to speak, but note that due to time constraints we may have to limit participation. We will also have limited space available for posters. When you RSVP to this email, please let us know if you would like to present a talk or a poster and for which session you prefer to be scheduled.

3. All presentations (invited and contributed) must be submitted to Ron Vervack (Ron.Vervack@jhuapl.edu) by noon EDT on Wednesday, July 31. Please convert any slides from PowerPoint, Keynote, etc. to PDF and check that they converted properly. Movies/animations may not stream well so please contact Ron if you would like to present a movie/animation.

4. We will have a PDF version of the final workshop agenda available by 5:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, July 30.

5. When you arrive you will need to check in with APL security in the lobby of Building 200. US citizens need only present a valid driver’s license, although naturalized citizens may find it helpful to also bring their passport. Green card holders must bring their green cards; it is recommended to also bring your passport. Foreign nationals (those people without a US green card) must bring their passport. We will not be able to seat you in the conference room otherwise.

6. There will be power access and guest wifi services available in the meeting room. Livestreaming is available at www.livestream.com/cometison. MeetingPlace Instructions on how to attend remotely will be emailed out to all registered participants on Wednesday 31 July 2013.

7. APL is generously providing coffee and tea throughout both days as well as a light breakfast in the mornings and snacks in the afternoons. Lunch will be available for purchase in the cafeteria; vegetarian options will be available. There will also be a complimentary post-meeting reception on both Thursday and Friday evenings.

8. We are planning an informal dinner Thursday night at Ranazul (http://www.ranazul.us/), a restaurant serving modern Spanish cuisine located approximately 2 miles from APL. They offer a 4-course meal for $35/person plus tax and tip; vegetarian options are available from the a la carte menu. If you are interested in attending, please note that in your RSVP to this email by 5:00 PM EDT on Monday, July 29.

9. As one of the products from our workshop, we are building an online ISON observing timeline. We encourage you to submit a précis of your ISON observing plans, (e.g., date(s)/telescope/instrument/objective). The requested information can be submitted at any time via http://www.isoncampaign.org/mikek/request-for-observation-information-from-professionals.

Thank you again for participating in this exciting workshop! As a final reminder, please RSVP as soon as possible letting us know if you will be attending in person, if you would like to present, and if you are interested in attending a group dinner on Thursday evening.

- Carey Lisse, Yan Fernandez, Karl Battams, Mike DiSanti, Mike Kelley, Matthew Knight, Ron Vervack, Elizabeth Warner, and Padma Yanamadra-Fisher.

UPDATE (7/19/2013):


Registration, which involves no permanent obligation, is mandatory for attending the Workshop. There is no cost for attending this meeting, and a light breakfast and afternoon snacks will be served. However, pre-registration using the Registration page is required for attendance. All interested parties are welcome to attend and discuss their observing plans and needs, and what is currently known about the comet.  There are currently more than 60 people registered. Confirmed workshop speakers include Mike A'Hearn, Tony Farnham, Jian-Yang Li,Lori Feaga, Karel Schrijver, Mike Mumma, and Diane Wooden, the CIOC team, and Lindley Johnson and Kelly Fast of NASA HQ. We expect the 2 days of the ISON Workshop to be filled with lively, productive back- and-forth discussion; the meeting format will be "Oprah-style", with a microphone moving through the audience to allow questions to be asked during each subject presentation. For those Workshop participants not able to travel physically to the meeting, we will be setting up remote access via MeetingPlace and streaming. Please check your email the day before the meeting for Instructions on how to dial-in via telephone and watch via internet streaming.


We announce the beginning of a new observing campaign to study comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). This comet, first discovered on September 21, 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. It is expected to be brighter than C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp was in the mid-1990’s and has the potential to be the brightest comet (or Great Comet) observed in the last 50 years, if it survives its passage around the sun. The orbit of the comet is being established and detailed orbital information can be found at the JPL Horizons website. Trending optical lightcurves and predictive sky charts can be found at Aerith.com

Although the expectations for the 2013/2014 apparition of comet ISON are still developing, at this time measurements leading to increased understanding of this dynamically new Oort cloud comet's orbit, its nucleus size, density, strength, and rotation rate, its composition, its coma and tail morphology, and its evolution over time as it passes through the inner solar system are highly encouraged. The comet's potential high rate of outgassing activity will facilitate sensitive measurements of its molecular and isotopic abundances and temperatures; and determination of how its production rates vary with heliocentric distance. Measurements of rare and low abundance species and isotopic ratios should be possible. The comet will also be extremely close to the Sun by perihelion, flying within 1.7 Rsun of the solar surface, which will provide an excellent opportunity to study Sun-comet interactions.

NASA is leading an effort to observe and study this comet, providing the use of its available resources: Keck, IRTF, its fleet of currently operating spacecraft, and the BRRISON balloon program. We encourage all observing proposals to observe the comet using NASA facilities, especially ones focusing on the comet's abundances, activity, and evolution along its orbit, as well as those from observatories around the world.

In order to facilitate the maximal observing of ISON, we will be holding a 2- day pre-encounter workshop at JHU/APL on 1-2 August 2013. The meeting's overarching goal is to maximize the scientific return from ISON's 2013 apparition. The Workshops goals will be met if we increase the number of useful ISON measurements taken this Fall-Winter, and produce more important ISON papers as a result.Nearby hotels and restaurants are listed on the Lodging and Accommodations page. Please try to arrive at 8:00 AM on the first day, so we can efficiently process everyone’s entry forms for APL. There will also be a light breakfast served at this time to help start our meeting.

We also plan on having a post-encounter workshop in the March - June 2014 timeframe.

For more information about observing opportunities for Comet ISON, please visit the "CIOC and Comet ISON" page.