A Great Comet for March 2013

Started Dec 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Messier Object
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A Great Comet for March 2013
Dec 28, 2012

Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) is on it's way through the inner Solar System on what astronomers think is it's first ever pass by the sun. Predictions are for a spectacular display with the comet even visible during daylight.

At the moment it's only visible in the southern sky using a telescope (magnitude 9.1) but by early March it will be visible from both hemispheres in the western sky after sunset, and is expected to be at magnitude zero or even brighter.

If it lives up to expectations PANSTARRS will be a magnificent sight and a spectacular subject for photography.

There are plenty of web resources with info on this comet.

try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2011_L4 for an overview

or if you want something more technical these sites are good to keep track of current comet activity
www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html
http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/

There is a chance of course that PANSTARRS  will be a flop like Comet Kohoutek in the 1970's which didn't live up to the media hype (sadly, astronomers got the blame for that).

I'm betting on a great display.

So get your Olympus 4/3 gear ready  and start practicing your sky shooting. And if it is a Great Comet you won't need anything more than a standard zoom lens and a tripod as it will stretch perhaps 25 degrees across the sky. If it is a good show then there will be millions of photos taken. How you compose the comet into your shot, eg juxtaposed with an iconic structure, or above mountains or sea, will be what makes your shot special.

This year I've used my Olympus 4/3 gear  to shoot the transit of Venus and a total Solar eclipse with terrific results. So a Great Comet will make it an astro hat trick for me

Peter

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