ISON Image of the Week

An Observation in Common of an Uncommon Event  (Nov 25, 2013)

Typical of the outstanding art work produced by the children of South Bend, this beautiful mixed media piece really caught our eye!
Every week since this site launched we have featured spectacular imagery from ground based observatories, astrophotographers, and satellites in space. We've certainly shown you some wonderful images of comet ISON, but this week's selection could be the best we're ever going to have!

We said from the beginning of the Campaign that the CIOC should be all-inclusive, and that everyone should get enjoy the spectacle of comet ISON. Many volunteer and outreach individuals and organizations embraced this, and have used comet ISON as an opportunity to educate adults and children about space, astronomy, comets, and comet ISON. One program in particular has caught our attention is Comet Festival, based in South Bend, Indiana, and maintained by Chuck Bueter.

With widespread community support, Chuck has helped spearhead a fantastic program of events related to outreach and education, centered on comet ISON. But one of the greatest accomplishments of the Comet Festival is the outreach program coordinated with the South Bend Community School Corporation, who have rallied behind the initiative and taken comet ISON into the classrooms of over 30 schools within their district for children in grades K - 8.

Events within each of the schools have varied but the program as a whole has encouraged both the scientific and the creative aspects of comet ISON, and it's the latter that constitutes this week's wonderful "ISON Image of the Week" feature.

The students - over 20,000 in total! - were encouraged to make ISON-inspired artwork, with around 10 pieces from each school being featured on display at the Colfax Cultural Center in South Bend, Indiana. Here we are displaying a small selection of our favorite pieces of art made by some extremely talented kids, and inspired by some fabulous teachers! It was incredibly hard to pick just a selection from the hundreds of fabulous creations, so we urge you to go to the the Comet Festival website and check out the photo gallery from the Colfax Cultural Center and from Chuck's visit to the Jackson Intermediate Center. Even better, if you live nearby, go and visit the exhibit and show your appreciation and support!

As Chuck has so eloquently stated on the Comet Festival website:
"The South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) has asserted that it values science by bringing the Comet ISON experience into the classroom. In addition to being a rare comet of a type not seen in perhaps hundreds of years, Comet ISON has the appeal of having an uncertain fate when it rounds the sun. The comet has potential for multiple scenarios in which it could put on a show or it could be annihilated. What matters isn't so much the visible spectacle as the scientific discovery unfolding before our eyes. The schools are facilitating an observation in common of an uncommon event."

Comet ISON is indeed an uncommon event, and one for which we absolutely can not predict the outcome for the comet. But we can predict that everyone, whether they be scientists, amateur astronomers, or school children, can learn and be inspired by this event!


We loved this for its subtle ambience and the dimensionality of the comet itself. Very beautiful!
The 'Best Teamwork' award would definitely go to this huge and beautifully decorated NASA rocket.

We loved the originality of this abstract artwork. Will ISON get fried like an egg? Maybe!


This Pop Art piece has excellent use of vivid colors. We're sure the student is glad the comet was named ISON and not Novichonok-Nevski! [Artist: Lucencee Jackson, School: Jefferson Tradtional, Title: "Pop Art ISON"]
A lot of thought and care went into this piece of contemporary art. We particularly enjoy the intentional 'breaking of the frame' by extending the tail outside the border. Very clever! [Artist:Michael Bostic, School: Dickinson, Title: "Comet Bostic"]
A fabulously comical work that absolutely speaks to a very large number of emails the CIOC has received with unfounded fears about comet ISON! Is that simply the Sun running in fear of ISON, or does the yellow man represent humanity's innate fear of comets? You decide!

Important: It was hard/impossible in most of the images to read the name and affiliation of the young artists who made them. If any of the teachers/parents of these children recognize the work, please Contact Us and we will be delighted to put appropriate credit on the image.

Every week this year we will put up a new image related to Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). If you have a cool image you'd like us to consider, please send it to sungrazer@nrl.navy.mil, along with a description and any credits you would want applied. We'll contact you if we choose to use your image on the CIOC Website.

See our ISON Image of the Week Archives for earlier picks!