Comet Viewing Tonight

March 13th, 2013 at 5:56 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

comet   comet 3 dave aupperlee Forest Hillscomet 2 Here’s where to look for Comet Pan-STARRS.  You’ll need a clear view of the western horizon.  The comet will be low in the sky for a brief time after sunset.  It’ll be very faint, binoculars would help.  Find the thin crescent moon (in the shape of a smile) looking due west around 8 PM.  The comet will be below and slightly to the right of the moon.  The comet’s tail will point up (a comet’s tail will point away from the sun).  The tail is roughly 80,000 miles long.  The comet came to within 28 million miles of the sun last Sunday.  Here’s a good picture of the comet from last night when the comet was to the left of the moon.  Here’s a close-up of the comet from last night in Texas.   (pic. on the left from NASA).   The picture in the center is from Dave Aupperlee and taken at Forest Hills Eastern in Ada.  The picture on the right was taken by Pete Mumbower in Grandville this evening.  You have to look hard to see the comet…it’s a little white spot down close to the horizon to the left of the tip of the conifer tree.   Click on the pictures to enlarge.  BTW it’s called Pan-STARRS because it was discovered at the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System in Hawaii.

28 Responses to “Comet Viewing Tonight”

  1. I am going out in a few to Lake Michigan.

  2. Jim says:

    8:10pm and no comet visible yet. It must have flown away early. haha

  3. Brian(Grandville) says:

    Iwas just outside with a high powered pair of binoc’s, and saw nothing.

  4. Mike Oski says:

    I saw it with my grandfather’s pair of WW II issued binoculars. There was no way I would have been able to see the comet without them. Nice sight!!

    1. Mark says:

      where were you located

  5. GunLakeDeb says:

    Darn it!! I got home at 9 PM and it was probably 9:15 by the time I found Barry’s link on where to look – clearly too late to see the comet…… double darn it because I have a fairly unobstructed view to the west :-(

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      And a big thank you to Mr Mumbower for his beautiful photo!

  6. Dave Aupperlee says:

    Got a nice view of comet Pan-STARRS tonight from a vantage point near Forest Hills Eastern HS.

    I took several photos. Bill, I will email you one.

    1. ashley lashay brooks says:

      Please send me some and what time did u see it

  7. Terry says:

    Saw Comet Pan-STARRS at 8:30 this evening from just west of Topeka, KS at the edge of the Flint Hills. It was a fuzzy ball of light with a readily discernible tail. I probably missed some of the better viewing because I thought I would be able to see it without binoculars. I was about ready to give up, but got out the binoculars and started scanning the sky. I found it much further below the moon and closer to the horizon than I expected.

    1. Brian(Grandville) says:

      That’s why I probably didn’t see it. I was focused closer to the moon, than the horizon.

  8. Angela says:

    We waited and watched long after 9:00pm but could not find it with the eye nor with GR lights.

  9. Barry in Zeeland says:

    Looks better in the picture above than it actually did. What’s crazy is that they estimate it’s orbit to be “10s of millions of years”. I don’t think we’ll be around the next time it goes by.

  10. Dave Aupperlee says:

    I tweeted pics to @bsteffen and also posted them to the WOODTV8 site.

  11. mark says:

    I missed it too. I wish Bill had said it would be real close to the horizon. I stood outside for 25 minutes (7:50-8:15) and saw nothing. I too was looking closer to the moon.

  12. Jim says:

    Well that makes me angry. I looked and looked and looked…didn’t see squat. I should have headed to Lake Michigan. Oh well.

  13. BJ says:

    I didn’t see it either. I was looking from around 8 to 8:20 with my binoculars. But it was a nice night to be outside looking at the sky. I wish I could have seen it.

  14. Matt says:

    Was at Pere Marquette beach from 8:00 to 9:15, but could not find it with the binoculars we had. Nice sunset, though.

  15. Cort S. says:

    I could barely see it with unaided eyes from Lake Michigan, starting more than a half hour after the sun set. Here is a picture my brother took through his spotting scope with 20x magnification. It looked even more faint than this to our eyes, but we could still see the tail.

  16. mr. negative says:

    Rats…could not be seen while sitting on the roof in SE GR. Oh well, coincides well with our no hope of a warm-up in 2013.

  17. Mindy ( Mason MI ) says:

    My Eyes must be getting bad !!! 7:50 – 8:30 Saw nothing !!!! only the Moon !!

  18. Rski says:

    Photo was very helpful. Was able to first find it using digital SRL shoot time exposures of the wide
    Field moon down to horizon. Showed up in pictures and the. Was able to,find it and it was very faint fuzzy light with hazy tail.

    Camera much better at capturing its size, shape and brilliance.

    Location millers landing, lake Jackson, Tallahassee, FL. Observed between 8:20 and 8:45 when it set behind the distant trees.

  19. Kevin says:

    It was mostly invisible to the naked eye, but binocs and my camera showed it easily. I got some nice photos of it.

  20. GunLakeDeb says:

    Will we be lucky enough to have clear skies again tonight?? Right now, though – it’s pretty hazy. Not sure the faint light of a comet will shine through….

  21. airemiss says:

    Stood outside with my son for a half hour and watched the clouds roll in. Darn clouds!

  22. rob says:

    8 pm eastern, mountain, central??????

  23. Phizzy says:

    A West Michigan resident got a spectacular photo of the comet Saturday evening. Here is what she posted on Facebook.

    “Comet Pan-STAARS taken by me tonight with a 75x zoom – if you saw it and thought it was just another jet in the sky like I did at first, it wasn’t.”

    Don’t laugh. :)

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