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Sunday, March 03, 2013


Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS tonight (Sunday 3 March, 2013)

Close up of comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS taken on 3 March 2013 at 8:44 pm ACDST from the beach at Largs North, Adelaide. 400 ASA, 3 x Zoom, 6 second exposure Canon IXUS. Click to embiggenImage taken at 9:05 ACDST. Same conditions as before, except 15 second exposure. Click to embiggen.

After being clouded out the past two night tonight was fine. So I sacrificed watching "Elementary" to go comet hunting. I set up on my previous spot at 8:40 pm ACDST, and I could see the comet straight away. Mind you, it looked just like a dimmish star, I had to look at it in binoculasr to see the rather nice tail (I estimate 2.5 degrees long).

As the twilight depended the comet looked better and better in binoculars, the tail in particular becoming clearer. By 8:50 pm I could just see the (tiny) tail with the unaided eye and averted vision. It never really got much better, darkening skies were cancelled by horiozn murk.

It was hard to estimate the comets brightness all nearby stars were too dim, and brigher stars were too high or too far away for good comparison. Comparing it to beta Grus and beta Ceti, using both unaided eye and the in-out deffocus method in binoculars, I'd say the comet was close to magnitude 2. It was definitly brighter, both head and tail, then when I saw it on the 28th.

Animated GIF made of 10 images taken at 2 minute intervals between 8:50 pm and 9:10 pm

YouTube version of animated GIF

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Great pics! Really hope the clouds and rain would go away soon for Sydney so I can go comet hunting again.
I'm feeling comet deprived; hoping to see something when it breaches the horizon here in the northern hemisphere in a few days - but we've also had a really sucky winter for observing.
Thanks for the posts.
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