Sunday, March 17, 2013

A glimpse at comet Pan-STARRS

I had looked for comet Pan-STARRS a few times last week, but I couldn't spot it until Saturday night, when I got some help from some fellow stargazers I happened upon. The above shot was taken just before it sunk out of view in Hollywood, which is just west of Charleston. When I reached this spot where I've photographed the night sky in the past, two other cars already had pulled over to gaze at the icy mass. I shot this with a 300mm lens, which leaves a lot to be desired. My old 150-500mm Sigma was great for moon shots, but thanks to thieves, of course, I no longer have it.

On Thursday, the first clear night since the comet became visible, I took some shots of the moon. It's in a crescent phase, but because of the "earthshine" phenomenon (when light reflected off Earth hits the moon), the rest was faintly visible. Kind of a pretty sight, but still a lackluster shot because of poor equipment.

Without realizing it, I actually captured Pan-STARRS on Thursday. From the foot of the Ravenel Bridge in downtown Charleston, I was taking a vertical shot with the moon toward the top of the frame and the horizon on the bottom. I went back and looked at the photos a few days later and found the comet, seen here near the lower left corner. The comet has been so faint that I had difficulty finding it - obviously.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the picture. Hope to be able to see it this week with my son. Do you think folly beach would offer good viewing