Comet Pan-STARRS update

Last night we went out to the Arthur Pursell Observatory to view the comet. What a great night. The weather was fantastic. It was hard to view the comet from the observatory because of the trees off in the horizon. Our neighbors, Dean and Hope Martin invited us on to view it through a clearing on their property. Dean got us some lawn chairs and we sat on the edge of the bayou (which is dry) and looked for the comet. We listened to the owls hoot, watched the hawk hunt and listened to the coyotes howl. Mike Lopez was the first to see the comet about 7:30. It was very faint. You could see a star like nucleus surrounded by a faint haze. If you looked really hard you could see the tail. I would say the the entire length of the comet was about 2/3 the full diameter of the moon. The comet is not a show stopper but it was fun to find it. I don’t think we wouldn’t have found it if we didn’t know where to look. When looking through binoculars, we put the moon at the right edge of the field of view. The comet was located directly to the left of the moon just past the center of the field of view. How high was it?  It was 5 fingers high. Put your hand sideways in front of you face and put the little finger till it just touched the horizon. The comet would be on your thumb. Here a a couple of photos of what we saw. The comet does not show up in these photos.

Horizon & Moon

Horizon & Moon

We had a great time. It was very relaxing and the conversations were fun. At 8:15 Mike and I opened the observatory dome and looked through the 10″ scope. We looked at the Orion Nebula and then went to Jupiter. Both objects were fantastic. The sky was extremely steady. We were able to view Jupiter at 50X, 77X 139X and 339X. We started loosing contrast and the high magnification but it was still impressive. We closed up at 10:15. I hope Mike made it to work. He said he had to get up at 4 am.

I would like to hear if anyone else has seen the comet. Please attach you comments to this post.



1 day old Moon

1 day old Moon

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Greg Eckes


I am a retired music teacher. I make custom violins and violas. I play violin in the Tulare County Symphony and fiddle in the Tule River Bluegrass Band. I like camping and astronomy.

One thought on “Comet Pan-STARRS update

  1. TheJoe616 March 14, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I went out to the country that night myself with a pair of binoculars and an 8″ dobsonian telescope. First spotted the comet just a little after 7:30pm. I only have a simple point and shoot camera so the pictures are lacking the quality I’d like, but it was still fun to go out and spot it.

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