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curiosidad
sage


Reged: 06/09/11

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Carol L]
      #5761782 - 03/28/13 06:38 AM

Carol, "reminded me of a badminton shuttlecock" very good!!

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james7ca
sage


Reged: 05/21/11

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: curiosidad]
      #5761905 - 03/28/13 08:33 AM

On the evening of March 27 I was able to locate PanSTARRS with a pair of 7x50 binoculars under conditions that I would call only fair (some patchy high clouds and high local humidity). IMO, the comet is much more difficult to see now than it was during the week following its conjunction with the crescent moon (on that day, March 12, under mostly excellent conditions I was even able to see the comet with my unaided eyes). I'm observing from near San Diego California so persons further north should now have a better view than I do.

However, last night I wasn't able to locate the comet until nearly 8PM local time and by then stars of magnitude 4 were visible in binoculars near to the horizon and in the darkening twilight. If I hadn't been able to star hop to confirm the location of the comet then I'm not completely sure that I could even claim to have seen it. With the binoculars and with averted vision it appeared as the faintest "stain" in the sky and was much more difficult to detect than the magnitude 4.3 star Pi Andromedae. The star Delta Andromedae at magnitude 3.3 and about 1.5 degrees above the comet was in comparison brilliantly visible.

The faint trace of the comet that I did see appeared fairly large and that could be part of the problem. The comet's integrated magnitude may be relatively high (SkySafari reports magnitude 3.7) but it is spread out over a fairly large area which means you probably need a very clear and dark horizon to see it.

Overall somewhat disappointing and now I'm starting to wonder whether I will ever see this comet again without some type of optical aid. SkySafari predicts that PanSTARRS will fall to magnitude six by April 13, but even on that date it will stay very low on the western horizon. However, on April 18 from my latitude PanSTARRS becomes circumpolar so it could then be a fairly good photographic object early in the AM. I suspect that sometime between now and then it might actually be easier to see in the morning sky rather than in the evening.


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RolandosCY
super member


Reged: 01/02/09

Loc: Nicosia, Cyprus
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Carol L]
      #5762293 - 03/28/13 12:18 PM

Quote:

Got another look at the comet tonight with the 11x70s and it wasn't as bright as it was on 3/13 and 3/21. It was a naked-eye object (averted vision) on both of those nights, but not anymore. The tail looks wider, too - the comet's overall appearance reminded me of a badminton shuttlecock.



I have been trying for some days now to realize what the comet reminded me off! Carol's description fits perfectly the bill!!!


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krp
Vendor. DarkSiteFinder.com


Reged: 11/10/10

Loc: Central Illinois
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: RolandosCY]
      #5763564 - 03/29/13 02:29 AM

The comet was still pretty easy to find in binoculars tonight. But the viewing window is very short. One minute the twilight sky is too bright, the next minute it's clearly visible in binoculars. A short time later it is lost in the haze on the horizon.


Comet Above the Lights by kevin-palmer, on Flickr

When is the last time someone was able to see it naked eye? March 19th was the one and only time I was able to see it without optical aid.


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Erik Bakker
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/10/06

Loc: The Netherlands, Europe
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: krp]
      #5763609 - 03/29/13 03:56 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

Quote:

The comet was still pretty easy to find in binoculars tonight. But the viewing window is very short. One minute the twilight sky is too bright, the next minute it's clearly visible in binoculars. A short time later it is lost in the haze on the horizon.





Well put!

I saw it naked eye on March 27th between 20.00 and 20.15 local time. While fading, it is still very bright, much brighter than nearby M31. I had the good fortune of great horizon sky conditions, that makes all the difference. And great instruments for observing this comet: 7x42 and 18x70 binoculars. Both showed the tail much better than my 4" fluorite at 40x. For this comet I an exit pupil of 2.5mm is too small. A minimum of 4 mm works far better. But nothing matches 4mm for both eyes

Incidentally, my 16" f/5 at 100x (4mm) also showed stunning views of the comet's head and tail, of course helped by it's aperture.

All in all, this comet really shines in medium to large aperture binos operating at medium to large exit pupils.

I took the included picture of the comet on the 26th of march. It gives an idea of what the comet looked like in my 7x42 when it started to become easily visible in twilight around 19.30-19.45.


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james7ca
sage


Reged: 05/21/11

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Erik Bakker]
      #5763969 - 03/29/13 09:21 AM

As of recently, observers that live farther north will have an easier time seeing this comet. If you live in the southern U.S. you probably won't be able to see it in the evening without optical aid unless you are a good observer and/or have very clear skies.

Initially, this comet was only visible in the southern hemisphere, then it was initially visible in the southern part of the northern hemisphere (like in the days before its conjunction with the crescent moon), now you need to be even further north or it will stay too close to the horizon after sunset.

For example, from my latitude near San Diego California the comet is only 15 degrees above the horizon at sundown and it sets at 8:40PM local time (one hour and 33 minutes after sunset).

However, from Seattle Washington the comet is 21 degrees above the horizon at sundown and it sets at 10:31PM (a full two hours and 55 minutes after sundown, giving an extra hour and 22 minutes to observe the comet).

In a few more weeks it will be circumpolar in most parts of the U.S. and then it will probably be more easily detected (with optical aid) in the morning rather than in the evening. In fact, it may already be more easily visible in the morning for some observers depending upon their latitude.

Those of us in the southern parts of the U.S. kind of got cheated with this comet, except when it was in conjunction with the crescent moon on March 12 (which may have been its most spectacular moment, so if you missed it around that time it may now be too late for southernly observers).


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swalker
Imaging Editor - Sky & Telescope
*****

Reged: 01/22/07

Loc: 42.9225°N, 71.2242°W
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: james7ca]
      #5764318 - 03/29/13 11:27 AM

The comet may by up in the morning hours, but the evening is now Moon-free, offering better views, at least from 42.9 north.

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: swalker]
      #5765815 - 03/29/13 09:49 PM

What's the estimated magnitude of the comet right now? Are there any finder maps to see it in the morning?

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Scott BeithAdministrator
SRF
*****

Reged: 11/26/03

Loc: Frederick, MD
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5765948 - 03/29/13 11:48 PM

I definitely need a morning map.

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Scott Beith]
      #5766049 - 03/30/13 01:56 AM

Scott, How about this below?

http://www.nightskyinfo.com/maps_images/c2011l4_map.png

Hope that helps!

Cheers,


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Phillip Creed
Idiot Seeking Village
*****

Reged: 07/25/06

Loc: Canton, OH
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5766355 - 03/30/13 09:28 AM

I saw this little fuzzball last night from Wilmot, OH. Using a set of 15x70 binoculars, I estimated the comet's integrated magnitude to be around 4.0, with a 1.0-deg tail in PA 020.

Last night was easily the best view I've had of the comet, and was nice payoff after a month of absolutely *HORRIBLE* weather.

Clear Skies,
Phil


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Dave Mitsky
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/08/02

Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Phillip Creed]
      #5766945 - 03/30/13 02:13 PM

There was an unexpected early clearing yesterday evening so I gave Comet PanSTARRS another go from a spot not too far away from my home with good horizons and reasonably dark skies but wasn't able to dig it or M31 out of the murk with my 15x70 binocular.

There's a nice shot of the comet and M31 at http://spaceweather.com/gallery/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=79964

What was the best estimate of the peak brightness of the comet? The figures that I've seen vary.

Dave Mitsky


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james7ca
sage


Reged: 05/21/11

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5767295 - 03/30/13 05:52 PM

Quote:

What's the estimated magnitude of the comet right now? Are there any finder maps to see it in the morning?



According to the SkySafari app, the comet's magnitude (estimate) is currently +4.2.

In any case, you really don't need a different map for the morning because it will still appear in the same area of your sky as in the evening (in relation to the stars, or in RA/DEC). What you need is a program that will show you how high above YOUR horizon that location will be at various times throughout the day (and where the sun will be and how far below the horizon the sun will be at that same time). Further, you need to be aware of the moon, since for the next week or so that could also interfere with your sky darkness.

Right now from my location in southern California comet PanSTARRS rises at about 4:58AM and sets at 8:42PM PDT. In the morning it is 17 degrees and 43 minutes above the northeastern horizon when the sun rises. In the evening it is only 14 degrees and 47 minutes in altitude when the sun sets.

Also, over the next several days it will very close to the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and for those in the far north where the skies should be fairly dark that could make for one very spectacular photo/view.

For example on Monday morning (PDT) PanSTARRS will be only 4.5 degrees from the galaxy (both could be framed in a pair of binoculars). On Tuesday morning they will be separated by only 3.5 degrees. On Friday morning, April 5 PanSTARRS will appear directly above M31 and the separation will be 2.7 degrees (approximately, and could vary slightly depending upon your latitude).

On that Friday, the moon will be 25 days old (about five days from new) and it shouldn't interfere too much with the view (it will also be about 70 degrees to the south of the comet). From my location astronomical dawn begins (or ends?) at 5:06AM PDT when the comet will only be 9.5 degrees above the horizon. It should be visible (with a clear horizon) but I don't know how well it would photograph at that low elevation (the Andromeda Galaxy will be even lower, below 7 degrees). However, in Seattle Washington the comet will be 15 degrees above the horizon when astronomical dawn begins. The comet's estimated visual magnitude on April 5 with be +5.0 (not that bright, but the comet's tail could be quite long).

Of course, this same conjunction with the Andromeda Galaxy can be viewed in the evening and for many observers that might even be a better arrangement (depending upon your location and willingness for sleep).


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Doc Willie
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: james7ca]
      #5768166 - 03/31/13 07:46 AM

FINALLY !!!

Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) Observation Report ON 30 Mar 2013 Joe Macagne and I went to the west side of Minnewaska
on the upper pull-off of Routes 44/55. Another observer with a camera set up was already there when we arrived. I was a clear night, the first in about three weeks, with just a trace of horizontal clouds below 5 degrees in the
southwest. I rated the sky at the time of siting about Mag 4, Joe, with much better eyes than mine ratedi it better than 5, using the Globe at Night charts for Leo. SQL reading was 21.01 at the zenith.

We spotted the comet at about 20:30 EDST. M31 was visible at about the same time. The comet was located below (west) and slightly to the left (south) of M31, less than two fields in my 15x70 binoculars. It was brighter than M31, with a prominent head, and a tail extending eastward about 1/2 a binoc field. the tail fanned out almost 45 degrees, the northern edge more sharply demarcated.

I did a sketch, which is here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mhastro/photos/album/153891680/pic/433540893/vi...

Overall, this was more impressive than I had expected. It will not make the Yee Catalog of Most Consistently Disappointing Visual Astronomical Objects.


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Mike C
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/05/08

Loc: Cornwall, UK
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: james7ca]
      #5768174 - 03/31/13 07:59 AM Attachment (13 downloads)

After over 2 weeks of being thwarted by the comet's poor elevation and bad weather locally, last night I finally saw my 59th comet, C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS)!

I'd been taking landscape photos in a disappointingly cloud west Cornwall, but on returning home to mid Cornwall the sky was clear. For once, visibility around the horizon was promising. I started to search as soon as I could see the stars of Cassiopeia, and used these to star-hop to Andromeda and the location of PanSTARRS.

The comet is still not in a location I can reach with a backyard 'scope, but I took the following (cropped) image with a 100mm lens on a fixed tripod. The pic won't win any prizes, but I'm pleased to have seen PanSTARRS at last, and look forward to imaging it with the telescope in the morning once the moon has waned.

Regards,


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Mike C]
      #5768238 - 03/31/13 08:40 AM

Quote:

I did a sketch, which is here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mhastro/photos/album/153891680/pic/433540893/vi...

Overall, this was more impressive than I had expected. It will not make the Yee Catalog of Most Consistently Disappointing Visual Astronomical Objects.




Can't see the sketch.....Says you have to be a member of the group to see it.


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Doc Willie
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5768311 - 03/31/13 09:35 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I did a sketch, which is here:



Can't see the sketch.....Says you have to be a member of the group to see it.



Let's try this:


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Erik Bakker
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/10/06

Loc: The Netherlands, Europe
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) new [Re: Mike C]
      #5768337 - 03/31/13 09:41 AM

Mike,

Congrats on observing your 59th comet, quite an accomplishment.

PANSTARRS is now fading. Cought it yesterday under very good conditions with my 10x32. Nice starlike nucleus and a bit over 1/2 degree long dust tail. Twilight is changing rapidly these last 2 weeks, as is the comets brightness. Quite a bit more difficult to observe than just a few nights ago, although part of that will be the difference between 10x32 and 7x42 mm binos. Did find the comet still quite a bit brighter than M31. But M31 is starting to struggle with twilight too.


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Geoff40N
journeyman


Reged: 04/19/12

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Erik Bakker]
      #5768436 - 03/31/13 10:16 AM Attachment (18 downloads)

I am in south-central NH. Was out last night, the comet was not as bright as it has been in the past couple of weeks. It was a clear night and based on last night I'd say it had dimmed considerably just in the last few days. Below is a photo taken just 5 nights ago. Nikon D200, 300mm f4, 2 second exposure time. High noise reduction turned on, final adjustments madewith Lightroom.

Edited by Geoff40N (03/31/13 10:29 AM)


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SabiaJD
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: Clarks Summit, PA
Re: Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) [Re: Geoff40N]
      #5768671 - 03/31/13 12:07 PM

Good clear skies last night. Setup my TV 101 in the field of TGC Observatory to see comet PANSTARRS and attempt some hand held afocal imaging with a digital camera. Difficult but I did get two that were acceptable.
Not as good as my first picture of the comet due to the length of exposure time. ( see them in same gallery ).

http://lackawannaastronomicalsociety.org/LAS/wp-content/gallery/john-sabia/c2...

Using 10 x 50 binoculars the comet sported a 30 minute of arc tail that trailed away. Put it at 3.6 magnitude using the Bobrovnikoff method at 0:40 UT.
Used the maps found on this web site for the comparison stars.

http://www.shopplaza.nl/astro/comets/comets.htm
(a good source I've been using for some time now)

A yellowish coma was clearly notice in the TV101 using a 38 mm Burgess 2 inch eyepiece, around 12X magnification.


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