Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Comet PanStarrs

This comet became visible last week (if you don't have billions of clouds like Knoxvile ALWAYS does!) in the mid-northern hemisphere. Last night was FINALLY clear, so we were able to view it. Most propitiously, it was beside the smallest sliver of just-past-new moon I've ever seen (1.5% illuminated), which was shocking in itself.
 Above: the moon was only about 4 degrees from the comet. The tail is dust and gas "boiling" off the nucleus (the comet itself - which is a "dirty snowball"), which could be a mile or a few miles wide. However - you can't see the nucleus - that is way too small to see from millions of miles away. What you see is the Coma,  a region surrounding the nucleus which is a million miles wide. The tail is streaming off the coma away from the sun.
 Top 3 photos taken with Canon T3 250 mm lens f5.6
Bottom 3 photos taken with same camera but placed inside the telescope, which was a Celestron f10 70mm Refractor

This last one was taken an hour and 10 minute after sunset and, soon after, the comet plunged into the low clouds.


dr pax said...


mom said...

noah, those are great pix, i mean it, i think you're on the right career path going astro!