Comet PANSTARRS Spectacle — With the Waxing Moon

Comet PANSTARRS & the Moon (March 12, 2013)

This was the night for Comet PANSTARRS! How often do we get to see a view like this, with a comet sitting beside a thin crescent Moon. Spectacular!

Again tonight, about a dozen visiting and resident Canadians gathered for a roadside star party north of Rodeo, New Mexico, to view the comet and Moon setting together over the Chiricahua Mountains. It was a stunning sight and made for a picture postcard image. The two set almost simultaneously, with the tail of the comet and “dark side of the Moon” lit by Earthshine the last to disappear behind notches in the mountain ridge.

And tonight, with the comet higher, it was visible to the naked eye for the first time, but only just – the sighting was made easier because you knew exactly where to look.

The Moon was just 3o+ hours old, so appeared as a very thin crescent. The entire disk of the Moon was visible, the rest lit by Earthshine, sunlight reflected off the Earth. In the clear New Mexico air, the Earthshine was easy to see even in the bright twilight. But adding in the comet made for a once-a-lifetime view.

As soon as they set together, we all cheered and applauded, almost like at an eclipse. It was a memorable night, the kind you always hope for from a comet. PANSTARRS performed tonight!

– Alan, March 12, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer



16 Replies to “Comet PANSTARRS Spectacle — With the Waxing Moon”

  1. Last week at this time we had clear skies. This week, grey as far as you can see. That Murphy is a bit of a jerk 😉 Wonderful image! At least if we can’t see it with our own eyes/cameras we can count on you!

  2. A masterpiece, Alan. Such a pleasure to see–especially after spending the appointed time waiting with my photo gear at the ready looking at a wall of clouds here in eastern Ontario. Clouds all the way this time for us saps here in the GWN. This shot will have a prominent place in May/June SkyNews. Beautiful!

    1. Dave, the exposure details are all at left on the Web page you are looking at, unless you are looking at the blog in an email notice. WordPress picks up the camera EXIF data and puts it on the blog automatically.

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