San Francisco Amateur Astronomers Club Announces Public Viewing of Comet ISON on December 7 and 8

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Amateur Astronomy club and Randall Museum will host two events to see Comet ISON in the pre-dawn sky.

The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA), an astronomy club based in San Francisco, California, announces two sponsored events for the general public to watch the upcoming apparition of Comet ISON. This comet is expected to be a spectacular object visible in the early morning sky during the month of December. The SFAA will provide telescopes and binoculars at two events on the mornings of December 7th and 8th at the Randall Museum located in San Francisco.

Comet C/2012 S1, also known as Comet ISON, was discovered in September 2012 by the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) telescope in Russia. Due to its size and eventual close-up flyby of the Sun, it has been highly anticipated to brighten up and potentially be the ‘Comet of the Century’ but astronomers won’t know this until the days following the closest approach to the Sun on November 28th.

The public viewing events are scheduled for the early mornings of Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8th, starting at 5:30 AM at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. The comet will be visible for a little over one hour, until the light of sunrise begins to impact the view. In addition to offering limited equipment for better viewing, there will be refreshments and warm, indoors space to discuss this exciting celestial object. The event is free-of-charge and will conclude at 7:00 am.

“Comets are of great interest to the general public, but few comets are bright enough to be found easily. The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers regularly hosts special events for viewing of the night sky and has added these two Comet ISON events to enable many to see the comet, whether it is a grand spectacle streaking across the sky, or a small object only visible in a telescope,” said SFAA President Angie Traeger. “Comets are notoriously unpredictable, so this might be a big event, or the comet might disintegrate in its passage around the Sun. We won’t know until after the flyby on Thanksgiving.”

The Randall Museum is located at 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114. For more information about these two events, visit the SFAA website at http://www.sfaa-astronomy.org. Visitors are reminded to wear warm clothing, as the early morning weather will be quite chilly. The event is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. For up-to-the-minute updates on the event, call the SFAA hotline at (949) 391-3604.

About the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers

The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers (SFAA) is a San Francisco-based club for astronomy hobbyists and enthusiasts, committed to supporting and growing the field of astronomy for the general public and for its members. The SFAA hosts lectures by leading astronomers, “star parties” for the general public to view the sky through telescopes, offers educational outreach to schools and adult groups, and special events for astronomy hobbyists to learn about telescope making, borrow club telescopes, and to view the night sky in a shared environment for learning and discovery. For more information and a calendar of events sponsored by the SFAA, visit the website at http://www.sfaa-astronomy.org.

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