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C/2011 L4 report, 5 March 2013

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  • Rob
    Just a brief report from SE Australia, for those who might be interested. I first picked it up in binoculars last night at 8:15pm UT+11 (approx half hour
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 5, 2013
      Just a brief report from SE Australia, for those who might be interested. I first picked it up in binoculars last night at 8:15pm UT+11 (approx half hour after sunset) in blue sky with the comet at around 11-12 degrees altitude. It was faintly visible naked-eye at that stage, with very faint, short tail. The visual view got much stronger as the comet moved lower. I ended up with a reasonable crowd of casual observers - no-one had any trouble spotting it naked eye and seeing the tail (about a degree of the main dust tail visible by the time it set behind hills), even kids (or should I say even adults?). The sky was still so light that there were no stars visible anywhere in its vicinity so it was easy to point out.

      Binocular views were great - the small inner coma is so intense. Unfortunately because of hills we were unable to track it down to the horizon in darker skies, and the show ended somewhere around 8:40pm, representing only about 25 mins viewing time. I have no real idea of the visual magnitude other than the star-like inner coma appeared slightly dimmer than Fomalhaut (V=1.16) when it was at a similar altitude earlier, albeit that Fomalhaut was in slightly darker skies when at similar altitude!

      Here is a link to a graphic containing a composite of webcam and DSLR images that might give you a better indication of what the comet looks like visually. Maybe comet sketchers (do they still exist?) would be the ideal people the show what this comet actually looks like. Photographically, it is nigh on impossible to replicate the dynamic range of the human eye with a comet that has such a small intense inner coma and broader delicate tail structure.
      http://i727.photobucket.com/albums/ww271/Rob_Kau/C2011L404Mar2013webcamDSLR.jpg

      Cheers -

      Rob Kaufman
      Bright, Victoria, Australia
    • skyweek
      ... Thanks a lot for posting such a detailled *visual* report - this is precisely what we up north (in my case: at +50 degrees ...) need to prepare ourselves
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 5, 2013
        > Just a brief report from SE Australia, for those who might be interested.

        Thanks a lot for posting such a detailled *visual* report - this is
        precisely what we 'up north' (in my case: at +50 degrees ...) need to
        prepare ourselves mentally to what is coming towards us! And it helps to
        'calibrate' pictures like
        http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i357/AusRam66/IMG_8562_lightSmall_zpsf87d81a6.jpg
        which Trevor Sellman took at the same time and also in SE Australia.

        Daniel

        Blogging along at
        http://skyweek.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/allgemeines-live-blog-ab-dem-5-marz
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