Image Gallery - Comet C/2011 L4
This comet was discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey telescope on Haleakala. It is a very long period comet, with an orbital period greater than 100,000 years. It passed closest to the Sun (perihelion) on March 8, 2013, at which point it became visible to northern hemisphere observers just after sunset. It was an attractive binocular object, just visible to the naked eye under good sky conditions. In May it developed a long antitail, although at this point it was a telescopic object only.

C/2011 L4
Comet C/2011 (PANSTARRS), 13 March 2013, 01:46 UT. A beautiful conjunction with the New Moon, separated by just 4°. Imaged with a Canon 300D, 1.6 seconds, f/6.3, 135 mm, ISO 400.

C/2011 L4
Comet C/2011 (PANSTARRS), 13 March 2013, 01:50 UT. In the twilight sky, just before setting, the tail appears almost 1/2° long. Using binoculars, the tail appeared a little over 1° long. Imaged with a Canon 300D, 2 seconds, f/6.3, 135 mm, ISO 400.
C/2011 L4
Comet C/2011 (PANSTARRS), 19 March 2013, 02:12 UT. In the late twilight sky, the tail appears over 1° long. Imaged with a Canon 300D, 4 seconds, f/6.3, 135 mm, ISO 800.
C/2011 L4
Comet C/2011 (PANSTARRS), 22 March 2013, 02:28 UT. The comet is rising higher in the western sky each night, making it easier to see against a dark sky, even as it slowly dims. Imaged with a Canon 300D, 8 seconds, f/5.6, 135 mm, ISO 800.
C/2011 L4
Comet C/2011 (PANSTARRS), 27 May 2013, 04:03 UT. The comet is now quite far from the Earth. When this image was made, we were passing through the plane of its orbit, resulting in the prominent antitail seen here. The distance from the nucleus to the point where the tail goes out of the image is 4.5° - about nine times the size of the Moon. Imaged with a Canon EOS 7D, 32 minute exposure (16 x 120 s), f/5.7, 135 mm, ISO 6400.

© Copyright 2013, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.