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 Post subject: Success at Last
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:04 am 
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Location: PA, USA, Planet Earth
I was at a location with an excellent western horizon on Tuesday evening but had no luck detecting Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) through a rather small break in an otherwise overcast sky. There was no chance at all of seeing it the previous two days, due to the weather.

My sister's birthday was on Wednesday. After having dinner at her and her husband's house, I drove about a mile to a spot with a good western horizon. I wasn't too optimistic about seeing the comet but there were some large holes in the clouds to the west and eventually I could see the young crescent Moon. I scanned downwards to the right with Celestron Ultima 10x50s and, lo and behold, about one-third of the distance between the horizon and the Moon I caught sight of a fuzzy star-like point of light. As the sky grew darker, I could make out the small tail of Comet PanSTARRS. My Burgess 15x70s produced a much better view. The coma was rather bright but I could not see the comet with my unaided eyes.

A line of low clouds obscured the comet so I called my wife to let her know that I'd been successful. I also called one of my observing buddies who lives about an hour to the north and was told that the sky was completely cloudy there.

After a few minutes the comet emerged from the clouds. It played peek-a-boo once again as more clouds crossed its path a bit later. Eventually it disappeared into the haze.

I was able to observe Comet PanSTARRS off and on until about 8:20 p.m. EST. I saw the comet for a total of about 25 minutes. When I got back to the party, I had a piece of cake and some ice cream to celebrate. :wink:

I probably wouldn't have been able to see the comet at all had I not gone southward for my sister's birthday party.

Dave Mitsky

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 Post subject: Re: Success at Last
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Glad you were able to spot the comet, Dave.

We've had a rare leeward side storm the last couple of days which has clouded things up locally. There was a small break in the clouds last night but I still wasn't able to see it with my 20x80 binos. I'll try again tonight.

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 Post subject: Re: Success at Last
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Been working all week, which is no matter given the rain and clouds since last weekend.

Dave, nice work catching the elusive bugger. I'm still hopeful for this weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Success at Last
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:56 am
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Location: PA, USA, Planet Earth
It was very cold and windy but I was able to observe Comet PanSTARRS for about three-quarters of an hour on Thursday evening through 3 different binoculars, 3 refractors, an SCT, and a classical Cassegrain from the Naylor Observatory. I'll post a full report in the near future.

Dave Mitsky

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 Post subject: Re: Success at Last
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:05 pm 
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Afraid we missed it, the joy of astronomy in the Pacific Northwest.


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