Have you looked up, scratched your head, and wondered where that
"bright" comet is hiding?
It's very challenging to see - and in binoculars it it is very small, as
you can see in my sketches linked below. The circles represent the
binocular field of view of either 5 or 7 degrees. The entire comet is
about 1/2 of a degree long. Tonight, the 1 day old moon can be used as
an arrow pointing to the comet, if you can find the slender Cheshire cat
smile of a moon, that is.
The moon will be found 5.6 degrees to the right of the comet tonight,
and 10 degrees above the comet tomorrow night.
Sunset tonight is at 6:57, and it will take about 25 minutes for the sun
to set down 6 degrees, to the time called civil twilight - Evening civil
twilight begins at sunset and ends when the geometric center of the sun
reaches 6° below the horizon. Start scanning the sky about 8-10 degrees
above the horizon at about 7:15, and keep looking until you either find
the comet, or you don't.
Here is my sketch of the comet from 25 miles up Angeles Crest (Chileo
turnout) just before the Caltrans yard last night. This is a good spot
and here is our Comet PanSTARRS resource page, which includes a good map
and my "What's Up, PanSTARRS Edition" podcast.
Happy comet hunting, everybody!
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up For March? Will Comet Pan-STARRS be bright?
2013 At A Glance