Did you see it? The comet PanSTARRS made it’s debut over the northern skies, and is now on it’s way onward! To be entirely honest, it is very hard to see. Even with great guides like Sky and Telescope, just finding it in the sky proved to be a challenge. I managed to find it with a large set of binoculars a few of the nights. We got a few pictures, but there are a few more on Phil Plaits site, now on Slate (not Discover Blog anymore).
(Pictured Above: Panorama of Orange County at Dusk, taken from close to Modjeska Canyon. Comet PanSTARRS appears to the left of the Moon.)
This Comet, while relatively bright, was so low in the sky at dusk that the haze and smog surrounding Southern California greatly diminished both clarity and brightness. Through binoculars it could be seen easily, but to the naked eye it looked like little more than a smudge. Fear not! There is another comet on its way this year, ISON, and it looks as though it may be a truly great comet. You can read more about it on Space.com .
While I did technically go up a mountain to get these pictures, we didn’t do our usual long trek to a remote location to get the best view, and it might be a good time to talk about why.
Back when we started Epic Dark Skies, several of us also had a day job; nothing glamorous, but something that pays the bills. Early last year I decided that what I really wanted, needed really, was to go back to school and pursue an advanced degree. Being a product of the University of California system, it has been quite easy for me to begin taking classes again at the local campus, UC Irvine, in pursuit of this goal. As it happens, this last week was week 10 of the 10 week winter quarter. In the near future we will be writing a blog post about each member. Stay tuned!