2013 03 13 C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) and 1.26-day Old Moon

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One of the hot astronomy topics this month is the comet PanSTARRS (c/2011 L4). Just days ago, those of us in the northern hemisphere were finally able to view first hand what we’ve only before been able to read about from our southern neighbors. For more information about PanSTARRS, please visit Astronomy magazine’s webpage: Comet PANSTARRS – Astronomy magazine

March 10-11th, my husband, Paul, and I drove to a nearby county road to set up the tripod, camera and binoculars. The viewing location had a low, flat horizon to the west. Much to my disappointment, the comet eluded us both nights. By the third night, even though the comet would be higher in the sky, we decided to head to a better location with a higher altitude, Lake Buchanan in Burnet. The 1.26-day old Moon would be viewable after sunset and could be used as a reference for location PanSTARRS.

After sunset, Paul was first to locate the young Moon with the 10×50 binoculars. I located it next with the 15x70s, then panned the sky to the left and within minutes located the comet. After another 15 minutes passed, I was able to locate PanSTARRS with unaided eye, although the tail required the use of the binoculars.

Click on the image below for higher resolution. You’ll see PanSTARRS off to the left side of the photo.
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~ by Erika Rix on March 13, 2013.

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