Images were taken by Rob Suggs and Aaron Kingery in twilight through cirrus clouds around 00:36 UT on 17 Mar 2013 with a 14 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center’s Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatoryin Huntsville, Ala.  The detector was a low-light level B&W video camera with a focal reducer giving a 20 arcminute horizontal field of view.  The view shows the over-exposed coma and a faint division in the 2 sides of the dust tail.  The images were not flat-fielded or dark-subtracted.

The darker image is a stack of 60 video frames (2 seconds), enhanced to show the tail. The lighter image is produced by simply stacking 1600 video frames (53.3 seconds).



3 thoughts on “PANSTARRS images”

  1. You can get a good view of it using binoculars from the former Logtown to Napoleon highway, south of the Stennis Space Center, inside of the depopulated acoustic easement. Thankfully, there are few vapor lights in there to illuminate the sky like perpetual daylight. I was first able to locate the comet from the dead end section of the highway just north of Interstate-10, using a pair of 14X100mm giant binoculars on 12 March. On 20 March, it was higher in the sky, but still clearly visible. Forget about trying to see it without using binoculars down here. The light pollution emanating from the Center doesn’t seem to be as bad as last year. But maybe it is just the lack of fog and haze, so common around here, which usually scatters the bright light for many miles. You can get a good view of nearly the entire sky from the Logtown boat launch, but the light pollution from Slidell is still bad, if you look west. The view to the south is very good from Logtown since there is basically nothing big to the south. The Curtis Johnson boat launch, a few miles north of Logtown is generally darker, because it is farther north of bright Slidell. But it is sloppy, since it is less than 2 feet above the Pearl River and swamp. If I knew the right people, I would get some gravel dumped in there. You can see the Milky Way and it is safe from the developers, so it should stay as dark as you are going to find around here, without driving a long distance from Slidell. And I doubt that the Navy SEALS want a lot of lights put up all over the place that will interfere with their night vision equipment and night training. They train a LOT, and dark places to train while firing loud machine guns, are getting as hard to find as dark skies to use a telescope. At least Arizona outlawed LED billboards, so maybe there is hope that public awareness of the pollution generated by needless lighting will spread.
    Comet ISON should be interesting from the Stennis easement this winter. I might even drag the 9.25 inch Celestron telescope and powered tripod over there, if it turns out to be spectacular. I did learn one thing from Comet PanSTARRS. If you can avoid it, don’t take dirt roads. One tiny section is always underwater of undetermined depth.

  2. On April 8 2013 4:12am I saw a green streak of light, when it came in to view it blew up half way down then traveled on over July mountain towards Scottsboro,Alabama. I believe it hit between Hollywood,al and Stevenson,al at the angle it came down. It was big what ever it was, but I would like to find out. Thanks

  3. Hi Dusty!

    You witnessed a very bright fireball! It was picked up by two of the NASA meteor cameras in the Southeast, and from the amount of light it produced, this space rock was about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. It was first seen west of Clarksville, Tennessee at an altitude of 45 miles and burned up between Dawson Springs and Greenville, Kentucky at an altitude of 18 miles. Speed was 71,400 mph; I am attaching a picture from one of the cameras.

    Thanks much for your report, and hope I answered your question!

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