I absolutely think so. Who’s in with me?
The next three weeks are going to be prime, PRIME viewing of comet Ison. Its crossed earth orbit and is racing to the sun for its closest approach on Thanksgiving Day. With proper eye protection it may even be possible to see it as it circles around the sun that day.
Ison is billed as the comet of the century by some. It may or may not depending on whom you talk to, survive the trip around the sun on the 28th.
Griffith Park Observatory still says that most spectacular viewing will be Nov 30-December 14 in the pre-dawn hours. I read earlier today that the best time to view will be about 1/2 hour before dawn.
All of this tells me that I know the perfect place in Joshua Tree National Park away from all of our light pollution for comet viewing. Quail Springs Spur about 11 miles from the junction of Highway 62 and Park Blvd in the community of Joshua Tree.
I’ve already got a car load set to head out the early morning hours of December 7. Plan is to be at the Donut Man in Glendora at 2:30AM and be on the road by 3AM. That would get us at Quail Springs about 5AM. Time to set up and be ready for twilight at 6AM and best viewing until sunrise at 6:35AM. I must be insane, but I remember the comet at sunset a few years back and thought then how spectacular it must have been to see in the desert. I’m not gonna miss out on this chance. I plan on photoing it from the moment it appears on the horizon until it dims due to bright sunrise. AND if you haven’t ever experienced a sunrise in the desert you are in for a real treat.
Of course with this being a National Park there is a fee to get in $15. You get your permit at the West Entrance. I did talk with a ranger this morning about early arrivals. He said we can go in and pay the $15 fee when we leave.
Who’s in? Respond in the comments or drop me a note at [email protected]
UPDATE 12/6/2013 I’m cancelling this road trip out to see the comet. Mother nature has conspired against us, rain and snow predicted for tomorrow and all credible sources say the comet has fallen apart. Will watch and see but we may get a pretty terrific meteor shower in January, if so and weather permits maybe we can try that?