What raw beauty! It almost hurts to look at these if clouds have frustrated you these past nights. I’m grateful we can at least see them through the eyes of others. Thanks to the moon’s proximity, some folks finally got their first looks at Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS last night.
Many observers report that the comet is faint with the naked eye, but shows up well in binoculars and through the camera. Have patience. PANSTARRS is moving farther and farther up and away from the sun into a dark sky. Later this week it should become much more obvious even as it slowly fades.
To those who’ve been plagued with clouds, don’t give up hope. Be persistent and watch the western sky a half hour after sunset for approximately a half hour. In that narrow slot of time PANSTARRS will be best. Tonight the moon will oblige a second time. The comet will appear about one fist held at arm’s length to the lower right of the crescent moon.
Dave Kodama, who took the photo at top, offers this: “It is much smaller than I had been visualizing, and very close to the sunset. I could not see it without binoculars.” Good luck in the hunt!