Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS


Comets are unpredictable, at least in my experience.  The scientific press are billing 2013 as being a great year for seeing comets.  Later this year a comet rather unflatteringly called C/2012 S1 (ISON) is predicted to be even brighter than the full moon. It may well be one of the greatest comets in human history.

The pre-cursor to this is another comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS that can now be seen throughout this month from the Northern hemisphere. Annie and I spent 2 hours on Monday evening standing around in sub-zero temperatures and a biting wind trying to find it.  Being close to the setting sun and consequently near the horizon it’s really difficult to find in the glare of twilight.

Tonight we had better luck, catching it just as it was setting over the hills of Kingairloch…

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I use a great piece of astronomy shareware – Cartes du Ciel – which can be updated with the orbital elements of new comets… really recommended even if you have only a passing interest in astronomy.

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and here is a cropped close up of Pan-STARRS…     500mm Lens, Nikon D700, 2 sec, f6.3

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and before going home I quickly grabbed a couple of shots of the young crescent moon…

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About Andy Harpur

Interests : The Scottish Highlands, The Pennine Alps, The Milky Way, Abbot Ale, Mountaineering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing, Sea Kayaking, Astronomy, Guitar, Penny Whistle. I live and breath for the outdoor lifestyle. New places, new faces, new adventures....
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