A fantastic sketch of Comet PANSTARRS

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, March 14, 2013

Master sketcher Jeremy Perez from Flagstaff, Arizona, made this great drawing of Comet PANSTARRS on March 13. I was so impressed that I wanted to share the sketch and the story behind it. Here's what Jeremy said:

"In the two nights since I last viewed the comet, its elevation has risen enough to pull it further out of the twilight glare. And it looks GREAT! The view got better and better as twilight deepened. The tail seemed to nearly double in length since I last viewed it — approaching what I estimate to be nearly 1° long. This time, I also noticed a graceful curve to the tail. The short, fainter extension on the south side was more obvious than last time, and I also detected hints of a fainter, straight streamer along the curved northern edge of the tail. I think the ion tail is too faint to see, so I wonder if this is some extra definition in the dust tail. The comet also was easily visible naked eye, and this time the tail gave the naked-eye view of a slightly smeared shape.

"My daughter came with me, and we switched back and forth between binoculars and the telescope while I shot photos and sketched. The lot on McMillan Mesa was loaded with people and their binoculars, cameras, and several other scopes. We shared the view with a couple folks parked nearby before the comet finally set, a warm copper brush stroke diving into the trees. I watched the tail gradually fade away for another minute and a half afterward. We finished by having a look at the Orion Nebula (M42), Jupiter, the Pleiades (M45), a few constellations, and of course the stunning crescent Moon, lit by earthshine."

Jeremy included all the pertinent details in the frame he placed around his comet sketch.

Fantastic drawing, Jeremy!

And, remember, for complete coverage of Comet PANSTARRS, visit www.astronomy.com/panstarrs.

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