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Tonk
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Loc: Leeds, UK, 54N
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723613 - 03/10/13 10:23 AM

Well I'm nuts! I'm setting off in 40 minutes to cross to the western side of the UK to try and catch the comet in a viable 15 minute window. Venue is a high hill overlooking the Irish Sea.

Why - because forecast is rubbish for the rest of the week - and when I did the same long distance expedition way back on 5th Jan 2007 I succeded in catching C/2006 P1 when it was only just bright enought to emerge from twilight when very low. I just want to see if I can repeat that experience!


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Tonk
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723620 - 03/10/13 10:29 AM

Quote:

and Ive never seen a comet without a coma




Theres been a few - recently C/2011 W3 was almost comaless. You can't dismiss this just because you haven't experienced it. Its better to dimiss this if someone else has a validated image on the same date with a coma

Heres the recent comaless comet classic - http://i638.photobucket.com/albums/uu109/Lester_045/Comet%20images/1d5bf314.jpg


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Dave M
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Tonk]
      #5723629 - 03/10/13 10:35 AM

Good luck Tony, i hope i can get another shot at seeing it on the 12th or 13th, but right now the weather looks iffy..

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blb
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Reged: 11/25/05

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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Dave M]
      #5723639 - 03/10/13 10:51 AM

Quote:

Its not really supprising that no-one is seeing anything - a case of pulling trigger far too early. E.g. last night Pan-STARRS would have been 1/2 degree above horizon at start of nautical twilight at 40 N

Tonight its 2 degrees at start of NT, day after is 4 degrees at NT, then 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 degrees on 15th March


Quote:

fizzle?




Certainly not - just everyone looking when its improbable to see.

I recon first observation below 40 N *might* be tonight - low probability. Better chance the day after - otherwise 12/13th will be much easier as very very thin moon is nearby




You are correct Tonk. Panstars just reached perihelion on March 9 and now heads north into view for us in the northern hemisphere. The earliest any one can expect to view this comet in the northern hemisphere is on the 10th of March when it sets about 15 minutes after the sun in a still very bright sky. So good luck trying to see it tonight. I too will be making an effort this evening, weather permitting, It is forcast to be cloudy the next three nights here.


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BrooksObs
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Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Dave M]
      #5723658 - 03/10/13 11:09 AM

I likewise wish you good fortune in your trek, Tonk.

However, just a point of information: Comet's lacking distinct comae are all but non-existent in the literature. Comet Lovejoy was a Sungrazer and these are really a distinct class of objects that do, on occasion, become headless as a result of their complete disruption as they pass through the Sun's Roche Limit for these fragile bodies.

Big, bright, well developed comets like PanSTARRS simply do not experience such events and the recent reported sightings of PanSTARRS as just a "tail" streak are all just mistaken views of very distant jet con trails that look somewhhat like intense comet tails to the inexperienced. The lack of the anticipated far brighter head, or coma, give the mistaken sightings away.

Our skies have become so filled with commercial jets over the years that it has become almost impossible to view a sunset without seeing at least one or two examples at a time very low down in the twilight. So, beware of being tricked if your venture does meet with clear skies.

BrooksObs


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Jay
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Loc: Southern California
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: BrooksObs]
      #5723697 - 03/10/13 11:21 AM Attachment (53 downloads)

Well, apparently my contrail image has caused a lot of trauma. My friend here unfriended me on Facebook over it then deleted two of my four images on his Astronomy group there and followed that up with saying I had posted doctored and phony images. I had no idea posting my admittedly crummy image would cause so much drama.

I do want to leave you with a relatively crude composite image before I go however. It's shows my contrail in 8 sequential 20 second exposures. The top image taken at 6:34 pm and the last at 6:43 pm PST. The image is less than 4 tall and shows my contrail about 3.5 above the Western horizon.

The funny thing is, I live on the West Coast where the jet stream travels roughly West to East. I have, apparently, caught one that travels in reverse here.

If anyone is really bored just let me know and I will FTP my RAW NEF files to my web space for you to download and sort through yourself. My reputation is important to me and I would like to be absolved of any wrong doing.

Sorry for all the trouble.

Jay Mason


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MessiToM
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Reged: 12/21/09

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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Jay]
      #5723713 - 03/10/13 11:32 AM

sorry to hear that ^ I think it looks legit.....

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RobK
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Bright, Vic, Australia
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723718 - 03/10/13 11:35 AM

Quote:

I remember when we passed off Comet McNaught to you southern hemisphere observers back in January of 2007 it was bright as a flare through binoculars during twilight. I know it's not your fault you couldn't do the same for us with PanSTARRS.






I'm glad we've been able to hand over something Michael, not like the botched job we did on Elenin in 2011! After all the care you showed in handing over McNaught in prime condition too!

Patience and persistence is the key - I've not been able to spot PANSTARRS with binoculars until almost half an hour after sunset. That's in very clear air. Mind you, when you get the first view you think, well, it MUST have been visible a little bit earlier! Once I'd located it, naked-eye views followed shortly afterwards but it's not the sort of comet that you walk out into the backyard, look west and say "Wow, look at that!". It's pretty subtle and quite small in the light sky.

However, it is easy to point out to non-astronomers when gets a bit darker because it's so low. You can tell them to spot the 'star' directly over a bush, tree, particular roof etc and they'll see it. People I showed it to as late as the 5th of March had no difficulty seeing the comet or the tail naked-eye. But without assistance they never would have seen anything.

Cheers -

Rob


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BillFerris
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Reged: 07/17/04

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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Jay]
      #5723730 - 03/10/13 11:46 AM

Jay, you can test your observation by repeating the photograph, tonight. It's unlikely there will be an identical contrail phenomenon in the same location at the same time on subsequent days so, if you can repeat the observation, that would tend to confirm that your photograph is of the comet. If you do repeat the photograph, try to get an accurate measurement of the azimuth of the object. Confirming the correct location would also support a conclusion that you've photographed the comet. If you repeat the photograph but fail to capture the "streak," that would tend to support the conclusion it was a contrail or other transient, atmospheric event.

It's unfortunate your friend is responding so harshly (unfriending of Facebook? Accusations of fraud? Sheesh.) to what may be a negative sighting of this comet. The fact that you documented your observation and publicly shared the image should be a clear indication that you're open to--welcoming of, in fact--others' objective analysis. If it turns out to have been an atmospheric event captured in your photo, you will still have contributed something of value. Negative sightings help us to better understand what is required for a positive sighting.

Bill in Flag


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Special Ed
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Reged: 05/18/03

Loc: Greenbrier Co., WV 38N, 80W
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Tonk]
      #5723736 - 03/10/13 11:48 AM

Quote:

Well I'm nuts!




I see you've joined the club. Good luck!


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Special Ed
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Reged: 05/18/03

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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Tonk]
      #5723753 - 03/10/13 11:57 AM

Quote:

Quote:

and Ive never seen a comet without a coma




Theres been a few - recently C/2011 W3 was almost comaless. You can't dismiss this just because you haven't experienced it. Its better to dimiss this if someone else has a validated image on the same date with a coma






Here it is. Paul Ostwald took this image March 9th ~6:49PM local. Look between the power lines to the right of the tower. Scroll down for more info.


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*skyguy*
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Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: RobK]
      #5723765 - 03/10/13 12:04 PM

Quote:

My friend here unfriended me on Facebook over it then deleted two of my four images on his Astronomy group there and followed that up with saying I had posted doctored and phony images.




Misidentifying an object in the sky is an easy thing to do ... even long time observers can make this mistake ... and it's usually an honest mistake. However, accusing someone of "faking" an observation or image is just plain wrong and should not be tolerated without 110% proof of a wrongdoing.


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Jay
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: BillFerris]
      #5723774 - 03/10/13 12:06 PM

Hello Bill,

I intend on shooting again tonight. Here is where I was on the 8th: https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/858597_443961562364604_1724517140... I moved North on March 9th to just below the first blue Amtrak marker on the map to get a better pier comet composition but had no idea how dim and small it would turn out.

You can get a very accurate of my bearings from this posted image. It shows the where the sun is setting on March 9th and the coordinates can be verified with any planetarium software. I did not move the tripod. http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/attachments/5723358-DSC_2503.jpg

I was hoping to shoot using the identical camera and lens configuration from the ridge behind my house tonight. How important do you think it will be for me to head back to the identical March 9th location? I will if matters but since the comet will be higher and further North shouldn't its appearance in the camera be of sufficient proof?

I now know the sting most 14 year old girls are well familiar with... "Unfriending". I think I will get over it... well, I hope I do.

Jay Mason


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Special Ed
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: BillFerris]
      #5723779 - 03/10/13 12:09 PM

Quote:

...The fact that you documented your observation and publicly shared the image should be a clear indication that you're open to--welcoming of, in fact--others' objective analysis. If it turns out to have been an atmospheric event captured in your photo, you will still have contributed something of value. Negative sightings help us to better understand what is required for a positive sighting.

Bill in Flag




Jay,

I agree with Bill. It never once occurred to me that the image was falsified and I would venture to guess that's true of 99+% of the rest of us in this forum. The truth is--this bad boy is just hard to spot right now and a lot of us have found that out.

BTW, your widefield shot with the pier is lovely.


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Jay
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Reged: 09/01/06

Loc: Southern California
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723817 - 03/10/13 12:24 PM

Special Ed

Thank you! It was even lovelier the day before but too many clouds made a comet catch impossible... I did get a better bearing on the sun however and therefore adjusted my location slightly on March 9.

web page https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/856832_444379522322808_873032927_...

Jay


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Special Ed
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: aa6ww]
      #5723821 - 03/10/13 12:27 PM

Quote:

...in the straight through configuration that I had with my 6" refractor with no diagonal installed, my bearings are completely screwed up as to which direction is which...I panned to the right and saw Mars...
...Ralph




Ralph,

I got to thinking about this and a refractor with no diagonal would have zero reflections and an upside down view (like a Newtonian reflector). Wouldn't you have had to pan to the left to see Mars? Were you using a GEM or alt/az mount?


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aa6ww
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Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Sacramento, Calif.
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723841 - 03/10/13 12:44 PM

Quote:

Quote:

...in the straight through configuration that I had with my 6" refractor with no diagonal installed, my bearings are completely screwed up as to which direction is which...I panned to the right and saw Mars...
...Ralph




Ralph,

I got to thinking about this and a refractor with no diagonal would have zero reflections and an upside down view (like a Newtonian reflector). Wouldn't you have had to pan to the left to see Mars? Were you using a GEM or alt/az mount?




Your right Ed, I panned to the right to see mars. I was surprised it was so big, I think because it was just above the mountaintops, just a degree or so from my horizons view. It was perfect round balls, even at the 28x i was seeing it as.

I was using my alt/az mount, which made it pretty easy to pan the skies.

...Ralph


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Special Ed
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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: aa6ww]
      #5723877 - 03/10/13 01:06 PM

OK, Ralph. And I didn't really write what I meant clearly. You would pan to the right but in the ep view, objects would appear to travel in from left to right (since it was upside down).

Edited by Special Ed (03/10/13 01:29 PM)


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aa6ww
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 10/23/11

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Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: RobK]
      #5723948 - 03/10/13 01:48 PM

Quote:

Yeah, sorry, these shots aren't the comet. The overwhelmingly bright part of PANSTARRS is the tiny, intense inner coma and if your images show just a tail it isn't the comet. Same for binocular & naked-eye views.

As the comet moves into darker skies over the next week, visually look for a faint 'star' to pop out, in the right position. The tail will reveal itself as the sky darkens. It is visible in binoculars before it is visible naked-eye of course - if you can locate the comet (think 'star'!) with binoculars then this significantly helps locate it naked eye.

It's still just visible from the south and a friend in NSW, Australia, successfully saw it again tonight. I haven't seen it since 6 March due to cloud. My "farewell" shot from that night is attached.

Good luck - hope it puts on a good show & I look forward to your reports & images!

Cheers -

Rob




That's a nice shot Rob. When I finally was able to detect it, it was just a few degrees off the horizon. Your description is perfect also. The comet does just kinda pop into view once it gets dark enough. Through a telescope, the view is pretty spectacular, the coma and wide tail are very detailed. I'll be using my larger 180mm F/6 refractor tonight since now I know how big it is and what I can expect to see.

..Ralph


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aa6ww
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Reged: 10/23/11

Loc: Sacramento, Calif.
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Special Ed]
      #5723956 - 03/10/13 01:53 PM

Quote:

OK, Ralph. And I didn't really write what I meant clearly. You would pan to the right but in the ep view, objects would appear to travel in from left to right (since it was upside down).




The straight thru views are kinda confussing. I have a nice William Optics 2" erect imaging diagonal, but when I use my widest eyepieces like my 41 Pan or my 31 nagler, it seems to vignette a little and with this comet, we need all the help we can get!

...Ralph


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