Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) from California
Posted: 12 March 2013
On the 1 March session, I imaged the dwarf planet Makemake (Mag +16.9), which is approaching opposition (19 March 2013). I had planned to take a confirming image on Saturday, 2 March 2013, showing movement from the previous night, but clouds prevented it. Unfortunately, the sky did not clear before it was time to leave on a short trip to San Diego, CA.
Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) become visible in the Northern Hemisphere during the trip and the weather even cooperated. I made my first attempt to see the comet on Saturday, 9 March 2013. The resort where we were staying had a 10-story building with an outside balcony on the west side of the building. I set up there. I took a setting sun photo:
But no luck with the comet that night.
I set up again on the 10th floor balcony on Sunday, 10 March. Took another setting sun photo:
At 1839 PST, I spotted the comet using 7x50 binoculars through some murk along the coastline. I managed to get this photo, f/5.6, 2 seconds, ISO 1000, 300mm, showing a short tail:
On Monday, 11 March, we visited the Anza-Borrego State Park, CA. There was some nice signage by Oceanside Photo & Telescope:
That evening, I had better luck with Comet PanSTARRS. This time I was at El Centro, CA, well inland. I easily spotted the comet with the binoculars, and for a brief while, I could see it faintly with the naked eye. This is the first photo I took that evening, f/5.6, 2 seconds, ISO 400, 300mm:
I did some more photos. This is a slightly cropped photo of Comet PanSTARRS showing its nice tail, f/5.6, 4 seconds, ISO 400, 300mm:
I moved the camera slightly and captured this sequence as the comet set behind distant mountains, f/5.6, 4 seconds, ISO 400, 300mm; f/5.6, 2 seconds, ISO 800, 300mm; and f/5.6, 4 seconds, ISO 800, 300mm:
Now that I'm back home, Cassiopeia Observatory will be opened shortly before sunset on Tuesday, 12 March. The sky is clear and I should have an excellent opportunity to see Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS).
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