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Looking for PANSTARR

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#101 George9



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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

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.

#102 Bonco



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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:51 PM

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.

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.

#103 ngc 9999

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:28 PM

Viewed the comet tonight again. It moved about 8 degrees to the northern horizon since two days ago.

#104 edwincjones


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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.

I agree
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


#105 RichD


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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:44 PM

constant, unremitting rain here. Can't even play golf this weekend either as my local course is closed due to waterlogging. I am actually quite pleased it isn't a spectacular comet as I would be gutted to not even catch a glimpse of it. If ISON in november is as bright as they are predicting and the weather is as bad, i'm quitting astronomy and golf and taking up an indoor hobby that is not weather dependent. Tiddlywinks perhaps.

#106 KennyJ


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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

I must admit,the typically terrible weather we tend to get so much of here in the north of England is the main reason I fell away from stargazing as a pastime.

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.

#107 Rich V.

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

You make a good point, Kenny.

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! ;)


#108 TonyTowe


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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:40 PM

I was able to see the comet for the first time this evening. I'm fortunate to live about a mile from the highest point in the county that I live in, which provides a good clear view in all directions. Got there about 8:00pm local time, and the W/NW horizon was still somewhat bright. There were a few other folks already there who had not had any luck in spotting it. After sweeping the sky around 280deg NW with my 12x63 Mini-Giants, I was starting to get discouraged, when all of a sudden the comet seemed to jump into view around 8:30pm. I was surprised at how bright it was. I have to admit I was on cloud nine after being the first to spot it. We watched it for the next 20 minutes as it slowly sank into the haze above the horizon. Awesome experience!

#109 panhard


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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:14 PM

Great going Tony. :bow:

#110 Don Taylor

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:46 PM

been cloudy the last 3 nights here - glad I saw it 3/12 & 3/13.

#111 Sonomajfk


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Posted 17 March 2013 - 02:37 AM

Finally, tonight, after days of generally clear skies but banks of clouds to the west, we got a perfectly clear western horizon. My view to the west from our backyard has trees and a ridge of hills, but I was lucky enough to catch sight of the comet before it set behind the hill! I watched it for about 15 minutes in my 15 x 70's; it was larger and more extended than I expected... glad I finally got to see it for myself.

#112 rodnocjolly


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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:20 AM

Two days ago I saw it at 1500 meters high location in the Alps in Italy.
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 Image

Posted Image

#113 edwincjones


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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:56 AM

SpaceWeather.com has an image that shows (?) that the comet may be fragmenting (or at lest one fragment).


#114 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:25 AM

Here is March 16th around 20:00 PDT at frontyard of our house, Panstarr was over neighbor's roof. It was taken with full frame camera (Canon 1DX) and 90mm (TSE 90) lens, ISO 800, f/2.8, 2.5 second exposure.

Looking through Canon 10x42, the 100% crop below was just like one through binoculars.

Posted Image

100% crop:
Posted Image


#115 faackanders2



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:55 AM

Friday Mar 17, 2013 Sunset to 1:30PM Island Lake Spring Mill Pond on top of hill at beginning of parking lot K. Anderson Observing w/ Binos w/ Greg Kleneklian, (Did not take 17.5" f4.1 dob with wheel barrel wheels up the very large hill; just left it in the car :( ). Hazy with light scattered clouts mostly near western horizon. Cold and windy, but I was well dressed for it (almost sweating), but thanks for the hot choclate Greg! Windy and cold on top of the hill.

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.


#116 Rich V.

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:42 PM

The clouds that have been obstructing the comet for over a week finally cleared up last night during the "blue hour". I picked up the comet with my 10x35s when it was about 15 degrees above the horizon. The lower 5° or so is obstructed by the mountains. I watched the comet drop behind a band of translucent thin clouds and set behind the pine trees of the Sierras. Nice! :D It looked just like the photos that have been all over the web.

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.


#117 J. Barnes

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

Finally! After months of clouds and a cancelled public viewing by our club, a "sucker hole" opened up to reveal it in my 16x70's. It seemed to magically appear around 8:30. After seeing it through the bins, my reluctant to stargazing wife was impressed and was able to pick it out naked eye. Might have been my only chance. Forecast: Clouds till June. :bawling:

#118 EricP


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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:48 PM

I saw it for the first time on March 12th. Weather has not cooperated since. Last night, around dusk, the sky looked perfectly clear. Finally, another chance to see it. You guessed it - the only clouds in the sky was a band right across the western sky. :p

#119 Don Taylor

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

Saw comet again tonight. No western clouds for once but twilight seemed to last a long time. Finally saw it about 10 degrees above the horizon and ~15 degrees north of west. Very bright condensed nucleus and short, broad tail brighter on the north edge. Appeared longer as the sky darkened but I never saw it more than 1/2 degree long. Could make out some structure in the tail. Seeing not very steady and looking through lots of atmosphere.

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

#120 rdandrea



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:03 PM

We finally saw PANSTARRS tonight. We almost didn't.

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.

#121 kcolter


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:37 AM

Observed the comet through several binos last night. I was particularly fond of the Tak 22X60 image.

#122 Stacy


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the report rdandrea!

#123 steve@37n83.9w


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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:45 PM

Finally got some clear skies here in Kentucky and took advantage to observe Panstarr. Unusually cold for this time of year but that helped with some very clear skies and also with where I did my observing.

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.


#124 rdandrea



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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

We saw it again tonight too. Picked it up at 8:04 local time about 1 degree northwest of 54 and 55 Psc and watched it set at 8:55. It definitely has a yellowish cast. It was yellowish on Monday also. It has moved quite a bit north since Monday.

#125 Erik Bakker

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 02:37 AM

Observed PANSTARRS for the first time last evening. It was the first really clear evening sky in a long time. Took out my 3 binoculars and drove to a lakeside 2 miles from home with a clear horizon view.

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.

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