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Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS)

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#701 Stargazer3236

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:01 PM

I observed PANSTARRS on the night of May 12, 2013 near Gamma Cepheus. It had a fan shaped tail, bright nucleus and nice fuzzy coma. Very easy to see. I was using an Orion XT10 and an Explore Scientific 8.8mm eyepiece.

#702 stevecoe

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:07 AM

Here is my observation from south of Silver City, New Mexico. I would rate the night at 5/10 for transparency. The Moon will prevent viewing it from dark skies very quickly so I got a good view while I could.

20 May 2013 New Mexico 20X80 binoculars
Just me at 2 AM again. The comet is pretty bright, large and elongated 3X1 with a pretty bright nucleus. There is a faint anti-solar ray that is at an angle of about
135 degrees with the nucleus. Overall, it looks like a capitol letter "L". The anti-tail is easier and more prominent with averted vision.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

#703 Brane

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:07 AM

Comet from yesterday from Rezman observatory (www.rezman-ob.si). Very long tail.

Tak FSQ106ed, Canon 5d Mark III, 15x120sec, ISO 3200

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#704 stevecoe

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

Brane;

Great shot. In actuallity, that is a very long anti-tail, the real tail is up and left. I do believe that is the longest and most prominent anti-tail I remember seeing. For those who might not know, the anti-tail is a reflection of sunlight off of particles in the plane of the movement of the comet. It is not "in front" of the comet, it is along its path, particles left behind as the comet moves in its orbit. Somewhat of an optical illusion.

Too bad the Moon is so bright now. Maybe it will still be a prominent comet when the moon is out of the sky.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

#705 Brane

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:31 AM

Steve thanks for your explanation, this is new for me.

Regards, Brane

#706 Mike C

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:22 PM

That is a superb image of the anti-tail, Brane. Thanks for posting!

Regards,

#707 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:45 AM

A beautiful image. :ooo:


On 5/20/13 I once again imaged C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS with the T2wf scope. Unfortunately my coordinates were off and I missed the comet in the T2hm but the comet managed to show itself on the upper part of the wide field image (T2wf). What is most interesting is the significant change of PANSTARRS tail. From what I can see the whole tail has become much wider, spanning almost 170 degrees! In this image the Ion tail is pointing almost directly east stretching across most of the FOV, looking like a searchlight beam. The part of the tail that was imaged has to be at least a degree in length, with the whole tail being longer. This is much longer then it was on the 4th. The dust tail seems to be shorter and wider pointing in a WNW direction. Only a small part of the dust tail was imaged.

The coma appears to be smaller and fainter then what was imaged on the 4th. I hope to get a better image in a couple of days.

Rich (RLTYS)

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#708 canukLX90

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:15 AM

Just great observations and images of this comet. Thanks
for posting!

PJ

#709 Tonk

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:08 PM

Right - whats going on is the Earth is rapidly approaching the point were it crosses Pannstars orbital plane (around 26th May)/ So were are seeing the effect of strong back scatterring of sunlight off the dust trailing along the orbital path (the so called Anti-tail). After 26th May this effect will diminish and it all goes dim again.

This is a common phenomenom when crossing orbital planes of comets. I've seen it many times with other comets, but this one is very noticable as Panstarrs is very dusty.

#710 BrooksObs

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 10:37 PM

As a point of information the long, straight, eastward-pointing feature is technically termed an "anomalous tail", distinguishing it from the far more rare true anti-tail. As pointed out a few posts earlier, this anomalous tail is basically a trick of projection circumstances. The cometary debris along and beyond the comet's orbital path is being seen in a highly foreshortened manner, essential edge-on, greatly enhansing its apparent brightness for a time.

Imagine viewing the arching stream of water from a graden hose pointed upwards at a 45-degree angle. As the stream breaks up it forms a wide, thin cascading curtain of water droplets. If the stream is viewed from the side one can look right through it making it appear as little more than a curtain of mist. But as seen from the viewpoint of the man holding the nozzle of the hose the stream looks like a solid narrow tube of water. The situation is the same as with the anomalous tail of a comet.

Incidentally, the "longest" anomalous tail every recorded was that associated with Comet Arend-Roland in the spring of 1957. It reached an incredible 15-degrees photographically, most of which could even be seen with just the unaided eye!

BrooksObs

#711 Mike C

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 04:57 PM

Last night I enjoyed another session observing and imaging Comet PanSTARRS, and was pleased to be able to see the 'anomalous tail' spanning perhaps half my 7 x 50 binoculars field (most clearly using averted vision).

I obtained the following image using an old Pentacon 300mm f/4 lens, piggybacked on a Celestron C8 for 11 x 3-min unguided exposures. Stacking and registration was via Deep Sky Stacker (comet-aligned). I realise I could have framed it to accommodate more of the anomalous tail, but my setting-up was rushed due to darkness not falling locally until after 11:30pm, while I have to get up for work at 6:30am!

Regards and clear skies!

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#712 kfiscus

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 03:54 AM

The exquisite anti-tail made up for all the frustrations I had trying to enjoy the comet earlier this spring when it was so low in the gunk. Saw it in early hours of June 1- couldn't have been easier to find. Directly between the 2nd and 3rd stars in the Little Dipper's handle, starting @ Polaris.

Enjoyed the comet and mock-complained about the aurora 'ruining' our viewing. Truly awesome aurora were visible from clouds-clearing around 12:30 to clouds-returning @ 3 AM.

#713 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 07:04 AM

Mike, a beautiful image. Thanks for the view.

Rich (RLTYS)

#714 Mike C

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 12:49 PM

Many thanks, Rich!

Regards,

#715 rgm40

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:19 PM

Is this "anti-tail" currently visible through a modest aperture scope without the imaging equipment?

#716 SStoffer

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:54 AM

I observed Comet PanStarrs early this morning, and I find it a faint object in my 12 inch Dob. No tail was visible. This object really faded a lot in the past three weeks! At that time I could faintly see it in 15 x 70 binoculars
And just to add I used a 32 mm ocular in my F/5 reflector for the observation.

#717 canukLX90

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 05:08 PM

Mike, thanks for posting the image...good effort!
I finally was able to image this comet last night. Before
it was too low behind trees and hills and of course the
weather not been co-operative either. Great that so many
have posted their observations and images of this fuzz ball
for all to enjoy.

A quick processing of my first observation of this comet.
I'll get a calibrated image up also ... just short of time
to do it at the moment.

PJ

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#718 Mike C

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:20 PM

Many thanks, PJ. Your photo is a beauty, especially for a quick processing!

Wrong thread really, but I've since observed C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) - my 60th comet :). Not much to report, though, as I was fighting the early onset of dawn and glare from one streetlight that affects my backyard.

Regards,

#719 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 04:13 PM

I observed Comet PanSTARRS again earlier this week from Cherry Springs State Park through a friend's 24" f/3.3 Starmaster Sky Tracker Dob. The comet was considerably fainter than it was when I saw it from Texas last month and its changing orbital geometry resulted in a much different view. A picture of the comet taken on June 4th is posted at http://spaceweather....917&PHPSESSI...

We also viewed C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), which was rather bright and resembled an unresolved globular cluster, and a very faint C/2011 J2 (LINEAR) through the 24" Dob.

Dave Mitsky

#720 canukLX90

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:46 PM

Thanks for the feedback Mike. There seems to be never
enough time to process the data on the computer that one
collects at the telescope ... sometimes a steep learning
curve goes along with it!

Here is a calibrated image..darks/flats/dark flats of the
previous image I posted. 13 X 3 minutes @ ISO 800 using
the PowerNewt at F 2.8 and Canon D450. I am still learning
on the "best" way to process comet image data.

Cheers

PJ

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#721 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 07:14 AM

Looks good, thanks for the view.

Rich (RLTYS)

#722 RolandosCY

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:09 AM

Here is a sketch of Panstarrs from June 10th, as seen through 18" of aperture. It was quite bright for a telescopic comet but nothing more to talk about. No sign of the long anti-tail...

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#723 nytecam

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 11:29 AM

;)Comet L4 Panstarrs was near beta UMi on June 13 close to its highest declination - my pic from London below shows spread of various faint tails is extensive ;)

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#724 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:45 AM

Took this image of L4 Panstarrs on 6/24 with the T2wf camera. Panstarrs still shows a very wide and faint fan shaped tail. I hope to get a better image of Panstarrs, soon, without the moon in the sky.

Rich (RLTYS)

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#725 canukLX90

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 11:01 AM

Thanks for keeping the status of this comet up to date.
Weather is supposed to be clear this weekend and I'll be
out trying to grab a new image of this fuzz ball.

PJ






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