Looking for PANSTARR
Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:14 PM
Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:51 PM
That's been my experience with almost every comet I've observed. Bino's are usually the optic of choice. For me the exception is very dim comets around 8th or dimmer magnitude. A telescope in that case delivers needed light gathering power. Bright comets like Hale-Bopp are beautifully viewed in almost any resonable quality bino.
seen with 25x150s tonight
not that much different from 8x56s 2 nights ago
I have to agree with Ed. The weather cleared here and I've seen it the last three nights. The view of the comet in 10X50, 16X70, 20X80, 14X100, and in an 11 inch scope at low power are not that much different. I was hoping that larger aperture would show a lot more tail, and I see a little more tail with increasing aperture, but not a lot. Perhaps the position of the comet in the twilight sky doesn't create enough contrast between the dimmer part of the tail and the sky to allow seeing more tail with increasing aperture. Two nights ago I looked at it with three other observers and we all liked how it looked through binoculars better than the view in the 11 inch scope.
Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:28 PM
Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:29 AM
It is wonderful to have a comet nicely visible from the inner city. I was not expecting it to look that good (I was using 15x50 binoculars). Moon was pretty, too.
most of the recent comets have been small, faint
should I say "boring" with binoculars
good to have a pretty one-and bright also
*should be a hit with the outreach folks
Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:44 PM
Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:52 PM
Over the past ten year or so,whenever anything extraordinary has been viewable in the night sky, the clouds or rain or both have prevented me from seeing any of it.
Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:59 PM
Even from my high desert location that typically does have a lot of clear nights, I've been skunked for over a week now with high, thin clouds over the Sierras to my west.
I'm just glad PanSTARRS didn't turn out to be "the comet of a lifetime" as I'd be pulling out what little hair I still have left!
Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:40 PM
Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:46 PM
Posted 17 March 2013 - 02:37 AM
Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:20 AM
The comet was disappearing behind the trees.
Pictures were taken with a Fuji Xpro1 and a 60mm (equiv. 90mm on full frame).
I saw it clearly with a Canon 12x36 IS II
Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:56 AM
Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:25 AM
Looking through Canon 10x42, the 100% crop below was just like one through binoculars.
Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:55 AM
Spent most of the time panning western sky for Comet C/2011 Panstarrs L4 with Garett pistol grip monopod orion mini giant 15x63mm 3.7 deg tfov binos with sucess in finding the less than 10 deg (or one fist high) comet. Earlier I was 98% convinced I saw the bright (non-naked eye) comet during twighlight with 25x100mm binos with both straight and curved/arced tails before getting lost in the hazy clouds. For the most part I kept the 25x100s locked on that position with the bottom edge being the trees, while I searched with 15x63mm binos on monopod. When Greg arrived, he said that was too low, so we panned up higher. As it got darker I aimed at a dim spot it in the sky and shouted I found it, a very bright vertical straight comet 5 times longer than the narrow nucleas pointing down (tail up). Then we lost it trying to find it in 25x100s. Greg later found it in his 80mm 45 deg 1.25" Vixen binos. From then on we observed the comet continously till it set in a thin lower gap in the trees across the pond. Most the time the commet appeared 4 times longer than the brighter nucleus, sometimes when it was dim in the haze only two times longer. It was fun watching it set and I had to move my garret monopod to the opposite side of greg, since my 25x100 binos had the comet set to the right side of the tree gap notch, and he was luckily centrally positioned. Best view was initially with 15x63 when it was brighter above clouds and longer and I was most excited, and then next best was with 25x100 binos at 4x length of nucles and slightly in haze.
Appogee 25x100mm 3 deg TFOV on camera tripod fully extended up:
*Initialy 98% convinced I saw the bright (non-naked eye) comet during twighlight wth both straight and arced/curved to the right tails, so kept it locked at thispart of sky. Greg later informed me this was NOT the comet, but I was still not convinved (it wasn't) till I found the larger but not as bright real comet up to 30 min later est.)
*Comet C/2011 Panstarrs L4 - Vertical bright nucleus pointed down with upward wider tail up to 4x length of nucleus. Tied best view of evening & Comet!!!!!!
*Sword/iota/M42/NGC1977/NGC1981 - 2nd best view of evening, filled the view vertically
*C14 Double Cluster looked like dragon fly & Stock 2
*Hyades had to pan
*Almost 1st quarter/Crescent Moon (bottom left) and Jupiter/moons (upper right) near edges of same view
*M45 - looked like cartoon rat in dress (Greg could recognize it also after I explained it to him).
Greg's 80mm 45 deg Vixen binos with 3 different powr 1.25" eyepieces:
*Comet C/2011 Panstarrs L4 - Vertical bright nucleus pointed down with upward wider tail up to 3x length of nucleus. Tied best view of evening & Comet!!!!!. Enjoyed lowest and mid powers better than highest power.
*Sword/iota/M42/NGC1977/NGC1981 - not as bright as in 25x100s, but still a very nice view.
*M45 - looked like cartoon rat in dress (Greg could recognize it also after I explained it to him).
Orion mini-giant 15x63 3.7 deg TFOV on garrett pistol grip monopod:
*Initialy 98% convinced I saw the bright (non-naked eye) comet during twighlight wth both straight and arced/curved to the right tails. Greg later informed me this was NOT the comet. Continued to pan for comet when I (thought I) lost it.
*Comet C/2011 Panstarrs L4 - Vertical bright nucleus pointed down with upward wider tail up to 2-5x length of nucleus. Tied best view of evening & Comet (initally 5x and very bright but lost it after switching to 25x100s)!!!!!!
*Col 70 (w/o S in haze)
*C14 Double Cluster looked like dragon fly & Stock 2 (Greg could see it also after I explained it to him)
*Hyades/Moon/Jupiter with almost 1st quarter/crescent moon directly in between - Tied 2nd best view
*M45 - slightly looked like cartoon rat in dress
*Perseus A Cluster had to pan
Blue Planet Optics 2.3x40 28 deg TFOV:
*Complete Orion Hourglass/Col 70/Sword/M42
*Perseus A Cluster dim in haze
*Hyades/Moon/Jupiter/M45 in same view (Tied 2nd best Best view of evening - put everthing in perspective!)
*C14 Double Cluster looked like dragon fly
*Comet Panstarrs had already set before I took these out to show Greg.
Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:42 PM
Since the clouds dissipated rather quickly, I only had the chance to get out the 10x35s and my 80mm refractor. The most pleasing view was with the binos but the scope at 23x80 showed the comet's central brightening of the coma better. Cranking up the mag to 48x didn't help see any further extension of the comet's tail; 23x was better, IMO.
If I'm lucky enough to be cloudless again tonight, I'll try the 16x70s or 22x70s; maybe even 33x100s. I've found the 16x70s to be excellent for viewing comets in the past.
Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:12 PM
Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:48 PM
Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:01 PM
As it got to about 5 deg above the horizon it was dark enough that I could see it naked-eye. Barely but clearly visible.
Still, a bit better than it looked last Wednesday.
Best view and notes above with Pentax 20 x 60 on tripod
Sent from my iPhone
Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:03 PM
I've been trying for more than a week, but the weather hasn't been cooperating. Last night it was perfectly clear and I went out for a while, but it turns out I went out too early and didn't have a good horizon from my back yard. I was kicking myself all day for not going somewhere else, especially when it started to cloud up this afternoon.
Looking to the west tonight, I almost decided the clouds were going to be a show-stopper, but I said, "What the heck. Nothing ventured, nothing gained." We piled a couple of pairs of binos and a tripod into the car and took off for the City water plant, which is a few hundred feet above the valley floor and has a decent western horizon. Decent for here, anyway. The valley floor is 4600 feet and the Uncompaghre Plateau tops out at about 6500 feet to the southwest. We figured that at worst, we would get skunked by the clouds again like we did Friday night, but at least we would be outdoors looking at the sky.
Sure enough, when we got up high, there was some clear space between the clouds and the horizon. We decided it wouldn't cost us anything to wait, so we'd give it until 8:30 or so.
We watched a beautiful sunset and began scanning the horizon; me with my recently-acquired $20 Meade 12x60s and Cheryl (my wife) with our lovely old Asahi Pentax 7x50s. Nothing. But we figured that all we had to do was stay put and it would eventually drop below the clouds.
At about 8:20, I said, "I've got it." Cheryl said, "You do? Where?" and I told her where. It was right off the end of a big black cloud--easy to navigate to. She had no trouble seeing it in the 7x50s. Glutton for punishment that I am, I took a tiny little pair of Minolta 8x20 roof prism binos out of the glove compartment and I could see it in those too. At one point, I could see it naked eye, but just barely. It's one of those things that if you know exactly where to look, you can sort of see it, but you'd never find it naked eye if you didn't know where to look.
Then a local homeowner came over to see if we were drug dealers or something. It turned out to be a guy I used to work with 20 years ago. We told him what we were doing and he went and got his own binos and tripod.
We watched it for about a half hour. It set behind the cliffs of Colorado National Monument at exactly 8:50 local time.
So, next clear night we'll be out again now that we know where and when to look. I'll bring the 20x80s.
It had a very condensed nucleus and lovely V-shaped tail, which extended maybe 1/2 degree. Not a bad binocular comet at all. You just have to wait for it to get dark.
Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:37 AM
Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:45 PM
There is a large lake only about a ten minutes drive from my home and that is where I went to observe. There is about a 1 mile section of the lake that runs east to west and I observed from a boat ramp on the east looking west/northwest. Very cold after dark so didn't have to contend with any boat traffic and of course there were absolutely no street lights, etc. to interfere with my observations.
Viewing conditions were superb, only minutes out of getting out of the car (about 8:40 PM) I could easily make out the Seven Sisters naked eye. My wife was waiting in the car due to the cold so I began looking using her favorite binocular (7x42 EDG). I started on the horizon looking to the W/NW and spotted the comet when I panned up in the sky about 15º or so. Very easily seen with the tail pointing strait up. Viewing condition were excellent and I'm not sure if it was due to some reddish tones left over the sunset but to me the comet had a slight yellow cast.
I went back to the car to get my wife and also brought back my 12x50 SEs and the comet really looked nice at this increased image scale. I had my Silva compass with me and took a bearing (little hard to do in the dark) but estimated the direction at very close to 300º. Due to very bad weather lately this is the first chance I've had a Panstarr but it's well worth the effort and with good viewing conditions extremely easy to find.
Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:43 PM
Posted 22 March 2013 - 02:37 AM
After a short scan of the Andromeda/Pegasus region I found the comet in my Zeiss FL 7x42 bino. A magic moment. I saw a bright comet floating in the evening sky around 12 degrees above the horizon. It had a dense, starlike nucleus, nice widening tail pointing straight up with a sharper edge on the west (right) side and distinctly yellow in color. Brighter than M31 and a striking color difference. I estimated PANSTARRS' brightness at Mv 3.0.
I continued observing with my Nikon 18x70. A stunningly beautiful sight. More brightness, detail and refinement in the image of the comet and the surrounding stars. Again and clearer the beautiful yellow color of the nucleus and tail. Difference in delineation of the east and westside was seen more easily. Length of the tail a little less than in the Zeiss 7x42. These 2 bino's showed a tail length of about 1 degree.
I also observed with my Zeiss FL 10x32. Sharp but dim image. Less tail and no color visible. Just grayish.
All in all a great and easy to observe comet, displaying filigran beauty and showing the mystic and wonder of our dynamic solar system to all who observe it in person.
Included is a snapshot of a quick sketch I made of Comet PANSTARRS as observed with the 18x70 bino yesterday-evening.