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 ...


  1. Fantastic..:!!!! Congratulations...
    Adrian, from Argentina

    1. Thank you Adrian! Glad you enjoyed the photo's :)

  2. I wrote an eBook on different types of photography. Your photographs would be perfect examples of digital camera astrophotography works. Thanks for sharing. I wish I visited your blog long ago.

    Corporate Photographer Sydney

    1. Thanks Martin. If you ever need any other astrophotographs I'm happy to organise the appropriate copyright agreement for each situation to facilitate use. My astrophotographs have been used in many books over the years.