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Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:26 pm
by Paul Freeman
Just spotted Panstars, below, and slightly to the right of two day old Moon at 7.00pm, very low, just above a thick band of cloud. Used 10X50 binos. Slight suspicion of a tail pointing back towards the moon. Followed it for around 10 mins before it was lost behind the cloud.
Paul.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:46 pm
by jb1970
Spotted it about the same time. In 15x70 bins quite bright with very clear tail despite being quite low in the murk. Watched it for about 20 mins but started to fade in the murk.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:59 pm
by Alastair McBeath
Good to see some people have had some luck tonight with this; was concerned I might have to start a new topic!

After a very frustrating week with clouds across the low western sky every evening till now in SE Northumberland, I had my first view of The Comet about an hour ago too (circa 18:50 UT, March 13). Spectacular it ain't, but I was really pleased to have spotted it at all. Stubby tail (maybe quarter of a degree long) in my 7x50s, and a lovely view with the slimmest crescent Moon about nine degrees "above left". Couldn't see the comet without optical aid in the twilight however, and my guess would be the nucleus/coma is about magnitude +1 - no comparison objects nearby I could find, so this can't be classed as any kind of estimate. Hopefully it should get easier as it moves quickly north.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:23 pm
by Brian
Tonight was my best prospect so far wrt cloud along the west horizon, but had no luck using 10x50 bins. The young Moon made a pretty picture though.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:44 pm
by trynda1701
Spotted the Comet about 19:17 UT. :) :) :)

Using 10x50's, drove to nearby moor with clear western horizon by 19:00 UT. After nearly 20 minutes of scanning, found comet in the twilight with the binocs at 19:17 UT. My observation was very similar to Paul's and Alistair's. Altitude was about two finger widths, to the lower right of the Moon which I was using as a guide as suggested. A tiny fan shaped comet, my estimate, very roughly, about a fifth the diameter of the Moon, tail angled toward the Moon. No nearby stars to compare to, but I liked the similar hue to the Moon it had in the twilight. After about five minutes, lost the comet behind the one bank of cloud that just HAD to be where it was! :roll:

Never managed to spot it with the unaided eye. I waited to 20:00 UT to see if it would appear under the bank as the bank moved south, before the comet set, and just when I thought the bank had cleared out the way and I had a chance, the Moon disappeared behind the bank that was still there!

As the weather is supposed to be sleet/snowing up here in Scotland tomorrow, I don't expect to see it tomorrow night! But I'm still glad I made the attempt. Although it doesn't match Hale-Bopp which we saw in all its glory, this observation is better than any observation I got of Halley back in '86!

Mark

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:14 pm
by The Bat
I saw it tonight in 10x50 binoculars at 19.00. Lovely sight, with quite a significant tail pointing upwards towards the Moon. Couldn't see it without the binoculars and it was very quickly lost in the thick cloud blotting out the horizon. Not enough time to get any pictures and as the nearest good Western horizon was 1/4 mile walk from the house, no telescope either!

Still, I saw it!! 8)

Rachel

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:25 pm
by Gregger
Bagged it myself here on my Norfolk holiday after some bird watcing
Lovely clear dark night her
Round about 18:55, nice tail, a lovely sight

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:46 am
by PaulB
I also had my first views yesterday evening.

The Moon was my guide and I soon swept up the comet at 18:55hrs. I used my 10x50 glasses, and then my 15x70 observation binoculars. These gave me a much improved view.

I could see a distinct fan-shaped tail, with an estimated magnitude 2 nucleus.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:10 am
by mike a feist
COMET PANSTARRS [C/2011L4]
Succeeded in getting my first sighting 13th wednesday.
Used Skywatcher 102mm f5 refractor from and through an upper west-facing window at x20 and then x50 and 45 deg diagonal. It was located between a beautiful thin crescent Moon c/w earthshine and Southwick Hill (which hid the true horizon). I first found it at 1840 and again at 1850, 1900 and 1910 when it was setting into the distant bushes. Transparency was rather poor but the "false-nucleus" was visible in the scope as glowing yellow almost up to disappearance. The tail was also visible but length could not be determined as it petered-out into the low murkiness. It was up to the left of the "false-nucleus".
NB. It was impossible to notice the comet at all under these conditions in either 7x50 or Minox MD50W on a tripod even when I could see it in the Skywatcher. maf

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:40 am
by brian livesey
I slowly swept the area with the SWALLOW 7X50's but to no avail. It's possible that I saw the comet without knowing it, as there was troublesome streaky cloudy to confuse things; not to mention clumps of black cumuli, processing like boats in a stately drift along the western horizon.
The crescent Moon was very pretty and with strong earthshine.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:49 am
by Tetenterre
A group of about 20 of us, mostly New Forest Stargazers, saw it yesterday evening from Turf Hill, through a variety of instruments, from 7x35 binoculars through 8" telescopes to DSLR LCD screens. I maintain that my Helios Apollo 15x70 gave the best view (well, I would, wouldn't I?!). Coma, with a very distinct nucleus (*) and about half a degree of tail.

* Edit: Subsequent to Mr Livesey's comment (below): For "nucleus" read "brightening, almost stellar in appearance, near (**) the centre of the coma "

** "near" added, just in case it wasn't exactly at the centre.... :D

@Joe: Thanks -- you read what I actually wrote.

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:03 am
by brian livesey
Sorry to be pedantic, but the comet's nucleus is obscured by the coma, so it isn't possible to see the nucleus. :wink:

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:46 am
by joe
Anyone (well almost anyone) reading the description can see that Steve is referring to a nucleus, not the nucleus. :roll:

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:31 pm
by Andyjasper
Looked for comet last night in a location in Shropshire with cloudless sky and perfect spot looking west. Using 12x50 binoculars scanned below moon from 18:30 to 19:30 with no success. Colleagues with me and with similar equipment failed also. Very disappointed. I did notice a solitary star just above and to the left of the moon. Does anybody know what the magnitude of the likely star would be to put that in context with the comet magnitude which admittedly being lower would be in more of the sun's glare?

Re: Comet Pannstars

Posted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:24 pm
by Tetenterre
Andyjasper wrote: I did notice a solitary star just above and to the left of the moon. Does anybody know what the magnitude of the likely star would be to put that in context with the comet magnitude which admittedly being lower would be in more of the sun's glare?
Depends on the value of "just" :lol: . If it was around an outstretched hand-span, it was most likely Hamal (2nd mag), possibly beta Ari (mag 2.6). If it was only a fist away, it was probably eta Psc (mag 3.6).