Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) - MARCH 10/11, 2013


Illustration of C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) - March 10/11, 2013
Click for larger version.

Illustration of C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) - March 10/11, 2013
Click for larger version.

After weeks of putting on a nice show for the southern hemisphere, PanSTARRS finally drifted into view for northern observers. We had a crystal clear sky for dusk this evening and I found a spot with a good view to the west on McMillan Mesa.

The Belt of Venus rises to the east of my makeshift observing spot.

Binocular view of Mars Hill and the Lowell Observatory Clark Dome to the west.

The comet finally came into view about 7:00 PM with the sun 7 degrees below the horizon and the comet 6 degrees above. It was a beautiful white fan over a gray-blue sky. The central condensation appeared elongated with the brightest section of the tail on the right (north) side. There was a hint of a fainter, shorter tail on the left (south) side. I roughly estimated overall visible length at around half a degree. I tried spotting it naked eye, but couldn't confirm a couple suspected glimpses.

While making sketches, I had a chance to share the view with a couple people who pulled over to take a look, including Kevin Mullins, planetary science professor at CCC. I also suspect Bill Ferris was just parked a couple hundred yards up the road.

As the comet began to set behind Mars Hill, it took on a ruddier color and shared an interesting, overlapping view with passing aircraft. As good as it looked through binoculars, it's got to look amazing through a telescope. So I'll have to try that next.

SubjectC/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS)
Position (J2000)Pisces: [RA: 0 25.543 / Dec: -2° 37.961']*
MagnitudeNot estimated
Date/TimeMARCH 10, 2013 - 7:00-7:25 PM MST (MARCH 11, 2013 - 0200-0225 UT)
Observing Loc.Flagstaff, AZ - McMillan Mesa
Instrument15 x 70 Oberwerk Binoculars
ConditionsClear, twilight
SeeingNot estimated
TransparencyNautical Twilight
*ReferencesStarry Night Pro


Wasn't that an awesome view? I got to see it also at around 10 after 7pm. The coma I noticed was rather bright while still in that nautical twilight sky. I'm going for a sketch possibly when it pairs with Moon on Tuesday. You have rendered very well with that wispy fanned tail.

Dark and clear skies,


Here is a picture of my view from Wittmann Az;

It has been a great view! Thanks for sharing your photo--it sure is nice to capture it against a colorful sunset sky. I had trouble with your link, so here's one that I think will work better:

I hope the moon-comet sketch works out. I look forward to seeing it!


Jeremy, of course you've seen it by now, I sent my sketch to your ASOD site which was posted at midnight. Well. I tried my best! I got a treat I want to share which you can also find on my FB page.

Hope you like it,


The Cerulean Arc

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jeremy Perez published on March 10, 2013 11:41 PM.

Drawn to the Universe - FEBRUARY 2013 - The Pleiades and BU536 was the previous entry in this blog.

Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) - MARCH 11/12, 2013 is the next entry in this blog.

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