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In Search Of Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS)

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I had a plan last night.   I had my location selected, with an interesting foreground object (windmill).   The previsualized shot would be windmill silhouette,  comet Pan Starrs, and the almost new 1%-2% illuminated sliver of the moon, hanging there like a cosmic smiley face.    It would have been glorious!  Alas, although the moon became visible as expected, where expected, the comet did not.   I was unable to see it, even with my small binoculars.   I had noticed a high thin layer of hazy clouds as the light dimmed, I suspect those were the reason the comet was not visible.   Even though the sky looks clear in these photos, I could see through the binoculars there was a high haze.  I should also note that in my original camera position, the trees you see here were not obscuring my view.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a fair amount of earthshine becoming visible on the moon, so grabbed a couple of moody shots of that.  (Earthshine is sunlight reflected from the earth back to the night side of the moon. )   It was fun to be out shooting, even if the comet was a no show.   Online this morning, I’ve seen several images similar to the one I envisioned, not everyone struck out last night.

 

Here’s a second moody moonset-with-earthshine image:

 

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And finally, here’s a photo taken shortly after the first image posted.    I cropped it tighter to show you….what is that streak near the moon?   Could it be….is that the comet?!

 

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No, sorry, its just the contrail of a high flying jet aircraft.   I thought about trying to pass it off as the comet but figured the astrophotography police would bust me for it right away.  I’m thinking of trying for a comet shot again tonight or at least sometime this week.   The windmill will still be there.

 

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2 responses

  1. I don’t believe Pan Starrs would be visible here in NY but even so, our constant overcast precludes any sightings. However, you still got some interesting photos and I read that there is still a possibility for getting comet photos through the end on the week. Don’t give up.

    March 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

  2. Thanks Ken. It was rewarding just to be out and about with the camera for a change.

    March 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

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