Two astronomers found Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) glowing dimly at magnitude 18.8 on September 21, 2012. On November 28 of this year, ISON will lie closest to the Sun — a scant 680,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from its surface. Latest predictions indicate that it will peak at magnitude –4.5, equivalent to the brightness of Venus.
Comet ISON is already visible through small- to medium-sized telescopes from a dark site, and binoculars and naked eyes will come into play as it nears opposition.
On December 8, Comet ISON crosses into the northern sky. It should shine brighter than 1st magnitude and perhaps sport a spectacular tail. Northern Hemisphere viewers will get increasingly better views as Christmas approaches.