Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SDO's Comet ISON Perihelion Event Website

SDO Comet ISON viewing page
Next Thursday, November 28, SDO will watch Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) fly by the Sun at 1844 UT (1:44 pm ET). We have designed a website to share the SDO images with the public. Here are some tips on the SDO Comet ISON Perihelion Page.
The top bar has a couple of links and drop-down menus. You can view a movie which shows the different areas SDO will point (off-pointing- when SDO is not point directly at the sun) and explore the orbits of Comets ISON and Lovejoy (from 2011, not the current one). The 3-D interactive works with many browsers (but not Safari). It allows you to examine two sungrazing comet orbits and see the views of different satellites. Under resources are pointers to websites that discuss Comet ISON.

Three views for the perihelion of Comet ISON

The home page will have images from four of the AIA wavelengths during each the views (off points), Approach, Perihelion, and Departure. These wavelengths were chosen because in December 2011, when Comet Lovejoy passed perihelion, it was very bright in these wavelengths,  and we believe they are the best choice for Comet ISON. We will not see a normal comet tail. The glowing material is forced to move along the Sun's magnetic field. It will look like a cloud moving along and away from the orbit of the comet.
You can watch for Comet ISON using either the kiosk mode or mp4 movies. If you select "View kiosk" a new page will open and a series of images at that wavelength will be shown. As data becomes available your kiosk display will automatically add the new images. At the end of each 1-hour phase you will be looking at about 300 images. The movie will flip through all of the data and you can watch for the comet to appear. You can run/pause the display, step through the frames, and force an update. If you pause the display you can use the slider to flip back and forth in the images. New images are available in sets of 5 every minute.
If you select "Download mp4" an mp4 movie that has all of the images currently available will be sent to your machine and you can use the movie controls on your webpage to view the images. You have to re-load the mp4 every 5 minutes to get the latest data. The mp4 movies will only be updated every 5 minutes!
Join SDO and watch for Comet ISON on November 28! A great way to spend a few hours of the American Thanksgiving Day.