C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) update #2

This comet is now visible in a properly dark sky low in the NW for a short period before the Moon rises on the opposite horizon. It is currently moving through Andromeda and it will come within a few degrees of M31 on April 5th. Its path is shown in this Journal article. For those lucky enough to have good weather conditions the comet is an impressive sight as noted in this report from Denis Buczynski (NE Scotland) tonight (March 28):

Comet observed in near perfect conditions here this evening, Just before moon rose I could see the comet with my naked eye and trace the tail (also naked eye) for about a degree. It was easily seen with the naked eye and it must be still around mag 3. It is a lovely looking comet, broad fan tail with one edge sharply defined and the other edge diffuse. Bright yellowy colour central condensation, which is small and sharp. Great view. If I don’t get another view of this comet, I will be well satisfied with this one.  Image attached (slightly trailed as I let the EQ6 track with out any guiding. 20:41 UT 73s exposure ISO 800 Canon 1000d.

Last night (March 27), Andrew Robertson in Norfolk managed to observe it with a 6-inch refractor. He writes:

I used a 32mm Superwide Meade E/P giving x42 and a 1.6 deg FOV. I positioned the bright ’stellar’ core in the centre of the field and I could see a very faint tail extending vertically downwards (inverted image) half way to the edge of the field which equates to about 0.4 degrees in length (visually). I would say the tail appeared broader than my previous view two weeks ago on 13th March. I persevered until about 2035 hours (5 degs alt) but by then it was fading considerably. Well pleased.

So far, from SE England, I’ve only had fleeting views between small gaps in the cloud. Hopefully things will improve for those of us who haven’t yet managed a really good view of this comet. Keep sending observations to cometobs@britastro.org.

More images can be found in the Comet Section gallery.

Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS from NE Scotland on March 28th. Denis Buczynski.

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