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Comet C/2011 L4 Panstarrs - Heads Up

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Already visible in the Southern Hemisphere - I'm in W Wales at the beginning of March on the Coast so hopefully will catch an early glimpse but am hopeful there will be numerous chances as it travels North - bearing in mind if March is like January there were only 3 nights in which you had a reasonable chance to observe in my part ofr the world.

Some general info from earthsky.org as are the excellent images above

Throughout March 2013. The comet could be visible in the Northern Hemisphere evening sky low in the west after sunset. It will move northward each evening during March 2013 as it moves from being in front of the constellation Pisces to being in front of the constellations Pegasus and Andromeda. At this time, the comet might have a bright dust tail, and perhaps visible to the unaided eye or binoculars. It should, at least, if it lives up to expectations. Remember to look for the comet in the vicinity of the waxing crescent moon on March 12,13 and 14. The comet swings above the star Algenib on March 17/18, and above the star Alpheratz on March 25/26.

Comet PANSTARRS in April 2013

PANSTARRS1stApril9pm.jpeg

Comet PANSTARRS on the evening of April 6, 2013. This view is to the west that evening. The oval near the comet is the Andromeda galaxy. You’ll want a dark sky to see both the comet and the galaxy. Chart via Dave Eagle at
. Used with permission.

April 2013. No matter how bright it gets in March, the comet will surely fade as April arrives, as it moves away from the sun and back out into the depths of space. But it will be located far to the north on the sky’s dome and will be circumpolar for northerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. That means it might be visible somewhere in the northern sky throughout the night for northern observers. What’s more, the comet will be near in the sky to another beautiful and fuzzy object in our night sky, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the nearest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way. If the comet truly is bright then, and if it still has a substantial tail, it’ll be an awesome photo opportunity!

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Don't forget, that's only a Sky Safari representation showng an anti-solar tail.

The dust tail will probably be much more curved than shown here.

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So hopefully still on course for mag +3 for UK skies on March 12/13th. Just typical for us that its reaches its peak magnitude while low in the bright twilight sky and then fades quickly as it gains some altitude with some darkish skies.

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it's all getting rather exciting :laugh: imaging M31 and comet panstarrs in the same field of view!

Fingers crossed for some clear skies.

I believe the comet will be almost as bright as M31 (Mag 5 to 5.5) when it grazes it.

Update: latest obs ( 22nd Feb) are giving it at mag 4.5.

Appears to be nicely on target.

Nigel

Thanks for the update. Looking forward to the second half of March.

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It won't be me. I've just ordered a new scope. It should arrive in a couple of weeks so cloud is forecast.

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Latest update on PanSTARRS:

It has been estimated at mag 2.6 with a 1.5 degree dust tail in Australia today ( their time ). Looking very good, lets hope it doesn't break up.

For me in south West U.K. according to my planetariun prog. it will set approx 10 mins after the Sun on the 7th march, 24mins after on the 8th and 50 mins after on the 9th. Might well be too deep in twilight on those dates to be seen but it will depend on how bright it becomes.

Nigel

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Latest update on PanSTARRS:

It has been estimated at mag 2.6 with a 1.5 degree dust tail in Australia today ( their time ). Looking very good, lets hope it doesn't break up.

For me in south West U.K. according to my planetariun prog. it will set approx 10 mins after the Sun on the 7th march, 24mins after on the 8th and 50 mins after on the 9th. Might well be too deep in twilight on those dates to be seen but it will depend on how bright it becomes.

Nigel

Ooooh, that's promising!

Thanks for the update.

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If I have understand correct, the comet will be verry close to the sun in the west, and will be best seen about 30 minutes after sunset. It will be verry low, so you have to find a good place. Myself will go to a nearby mountain and watch from there :-P I live in the middle of Sweden, Eskilstuna.

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Some of the pics from down south are looking really excellent.

Shame you can't see these things through clouds though.

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Lovely to see some images of it.

James

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i have a great spot to go, by me its nice and high above and away from the city so i hoping im not in work when it arrives and its clear. the odds are stacked against me though

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Now at 2nd magnitude and a week to go till perihelion. It's gonna be good. :grin:

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I'm off work for the whole week before SGL8 and hope to get some pics from the end of the Gower Peninsula around worms head...

Peter....

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To answer my childrens' question as to why this comet has such a strange name I had to do a bit of hunting so for the benefit of anyone else who doesn't know:

C = non-periodic comet

2011 = year of discovery

L4 = fourth discovery announcement in the second half of June

PANSTARRS = Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System - the body which discovered it

So there you go :)

James

Edited by JamesF
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hi guys/girls

just found this link lots to read and pics onwhere to see how bright and where to look dates ect very interesting. hope it helps

waitingforison.wordpress.com/comet-panstarrs/

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Anyone know how accurate Stellarium is for tracking this comet?

The recent flyby of 2012DA14 ended up being way off.

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I downloaded an app for my iPhone which has shown a brightness factor of 0.2 each day for the last week. Today it is +1.2 mag so fingers crossed for this time next week heading toward -1.00 if this app is correct and comet behaves itself!

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