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ISON at its brightest

November 2013: The solar system’s planets surely will take a backseat to the comet, but they also offer plenty to celebrate.
Comet ISON on November 24
Comet ISON should be a spectacle when it passes near Mercury and Saturn in morning twilight November 24.
Astronomy: Roen Kelly
The month of the comet has finally arrived. The long-awaited predawn appearance of Comet ISON (C/2012 S1), potentially one of the brightest such objects in many decades, no doubt will leave many observers bleary-eyed as they go about their normal daytime tasks.

The solar system’s planets surely will take a backseat to the comet, but they also offer plenty to celebrate. Mercury enjoys its best morning appearance of 2013. It passes near both Saturn and ISON late this month. While Mars and Jupiter put on their best shows after midnight, Venus dominates the early evening sky. Finally, although the comet may win this month’s grand prize for magnificence, a November 3 total solar eclipse in Africa has to rank a close second.

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