Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Comet Panstarrs over Perth City Lights

Tonight's location for photographing comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS was a lookout overlooking the city of Perth in Western Australia.

This photograph has turned out to have quite a smoggy industrial feel about it. The yellow colour on the cloud is light pollution from the city. During the length of the exposure cloud drifted through the image, leaving most of the photograph looking cloudy yet the comet showing through the gaps. The cloud was moving quite quickly from left (south) to right (north).

The comet was harder to see tonight, partly due to the cloud and partly due to the fact it is getting closer to the sun and so not up as high in the sky after sunset.

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS over Perth, Western Australia. 100mm focal length.
And here is a second one from earlier in the evening with more twilight colour remaining:
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS over Perth, Western Australia, in some twilight colour. 100mm focal length.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS in an ocean sunset

Last night I enjoyed a trip to a local beach here in Perth (Shoalwater, near Rockingham) to photograph C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS.

The evening was almost idealic. Clear skies and comfortable termperatures. The breeze was a little stiff where we set up which constrained what photographs I could capture.

For me taking astrophotographs is about more than just the object of interest, it's about the experience of getting out and about to scenic locations and trying to incorporate the location and the feel of being at the location in the photographs I produce. So in my usual style, here is a wider field photograph to set the scene:
Small waves gently lap at the shore line as a breeze blows in off the ocean on a comfortable 20 degrees C evening. Setting the Scene - Sunset at Shoalwater, Western Australia

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS became visible to the naked eye at approximately 7:40pm local time. The sun set at 6:54pm. To the unaided eye the comet appeared like a medium brightness star about 10 degrees above the horizon. Through binoculars the short tail was plainly visible. Through a 80mm refractor telescope the comet was very clear with it's tail.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS above islands off Shoalwater, Western Australia. Taken at 100mm focal length the comet is approximately 10 degrees off the horizon.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS setting low over the ocean. Taken at 130mm focal length. Taken between 8:02pm and 8:05pm local time. 
If you are wanting to view the comet yourself and you are in the southern hemisphere there is only a very narrow window of opportunity which for my location at Perth seems to be bewteen 7:40pm and 8:05pm local time. You will need binoculars or a small telescope to see the tail. Binoculars also help you initially locate the comet.

See new pictures of Panstarrs from the 5th March at my next blog entry ...