APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 4647
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:06 am

Image Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset

Explanation: Have you seen the comet? As Comet PANSTARRS fades, careful observers -- even with unaided eyes -- should still be able to find the shedding ice ball on the western horizon just after sunset. Pictured above, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) was pointed out from a hilltop last week on First Encounter Beach in Massachusetts, USA. The comet was discovered by -- and is named for -- the Pan-STARRS astronomical sky survey that discovered it. As the comet now recedes from both the Earth and the Sun, it will remain visible further into the night, although binoculars or a small telescope will soon to be needed to find it.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>
[/b]

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8394
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by owlice » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:20 am

This is a lovely image. What a great thing it is, to share the night sky and its beauties with others, especially one's child!
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
orin stepanek
Plutopian
Posts: 7435
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:07 pm

owlice wrote:This is a lovely image. What a great thing it is, to share the night sky and its beauties with others, especially one's child!
Very nice photo! I fully agree with owlice! 8-) :D
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

User avatar
LocalColor
Science Officer
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:11 pm
Location: Central Idaho, USA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by LocalColor » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:36 pm

Cloudy and snowing here. Still hoping for a clear evening.

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by ta152h0 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:14 pm

Something stirred up the Oort cloud. Three comets in one year and presumably all three are " comet of the year " billing ?
Last edited by ta152h0 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
Anthony Barreiro
Turtles all the way down
Posts: 793
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:09 pm
Location: San Francisco, California, Turtle Island

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:32 pm

This is a beautiful, heartwarming image. The comet looks brighter and more easily visible than it appeared to me March 13 or 16. Perhaps Chris Cook had a clearer sky, or maybe the two-second exposure makes the comet look brighter than it looked to the unaided eye.
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and free.

User avatar
iamlucky13
Commander
Posts: 515
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 7:28 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by iamlucky13 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:42 am

ta152h0 wrote:Something stirred up the Oort cloud. Three comets in one year and presumably all three are " comet of the year " billing ?
Not really. C/2012 S1 (discovered at the ISON observatory) is on a very different orbit than C/2011 L4 (discovered by the PanSTARRS project). I'm not sure what third comet you're referring to.

When comets passing through the inner solar system are discovered, there's never a very solid idea how bright they will be. It's always a a range of estimates, and although the brightest end of the range is often impressive-sounding, the result is usually much less dramatic. The PanSTARRS comet was always expected to be much dimmer than the ISON comet is predicted to be. As usually happens, PanSTARRS has fallen in the middle of the expected brightness range, which is visible, but modest.

It remains to be seen what ISON will do. We got really lucky a couple years ago with C/2006 P1 McNaught, which surprised observers and became bright enough that with careful shielding from the sun, a few observers were able to spot it during the day, and there were some spectacular photos of it at night. Unfortunately for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, it was best spotted in the Southern hemisphere. I only had a few chances to see it during twilight, which is not ideal conditions.

It is possible that C/2012 S1 (ISON) will be even brighter Comet McNaught, but I little dare to hope we'll get so lucky so soon after McNaught's 2007 visit.
"Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man." ~J. Robert Oppenheimer (speaking about Albert Einstein)

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by ta152h0 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:35 pm

comet Pan-Starrs, comet Lemmon, comet Ison
Wolf Kotenberg

dc90275

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by dc90275 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:55 am

My daughter and I saw Panstarrs just after sunset yesterday (Mar 22) from the southern California coast. We both saw rainbow like colors in its tail when viewed through the binoculars I brought along. Was this an illusion or due to the earth's atmosphere? Or could it actually have been refraction off the comet's tail ?

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1399
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by ta152h0 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:58 am

Skies cleared up here in the NW so I might see it tonight, in a few minutes as the sun sets
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16596
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:02 pm

dc90275 wrote:My daughter and I saw Panstarrs just after sunset yesterday (Mar 22) from the southern California coast. We both saw rainbow like colors in its tail when viewed through the binoculars I brought along. Was this an illusion or due to the earth's atmosphere? Or could it actually have been refraction off the comet's tail ?
Most likely it was optical aberration in the binoculars. The comet's tail is a faint yellow, and I doubt that it is bright enough that atmospheric dispersion could produce any colors.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

dc90275

Re: APOD: Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset (2013 Mar 18)

Post by dc90275 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:27 pm

Chris, That's seems reasonable, but disappointing >> I was using Leitz binoculars which are supposed to have great optics. thanks