Some of us are available tonight and some next week to do some sidewalk
astronomy, so those of us available tonight will be at the corner of
Myrtle and Lime Streets in Monrovia's Library Park tonight from 7 p.m.
to about 9 p.m.
If you are out for a stroll, stop by. We'll be looking at Jupiter and
the moon through some marine layer haze, but if you are itching for some
telescope viewing (like I am) come on down.
Here is my first observation of Comet PanSTARRS - the current (barely)
naked eye visible comet low in the west.
About 25 minutes after sunset (at civil twilight) you may be able to
spot the comet if you have good low western horizon and know where to
look (not easy). It also helps to have a clear and dark sky (which we
don't tonight). It is only about 10 degrees above the horizon (90
degrees is overhead). One of us may try moving a small telescope down
Lime Street for a better view to the west, hoping for a little clearing
between buildings and trees. I won't promise a view of the comet, but
it is always fun to try! The window of viewing will be only from about
7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - probably even less time without a clear
horizon. There are not only trees and buildings in the way, but hazy
marine layer, too. I'll bring my binoculars and try to be optimistic. :-)
Meanwhile here are some images of the comet:
It's only been
visible in the Northern Hemisphere for less than a week, and hopefully,
it will still be around in April and May (though faint, and only visible
in a telescope). But I hear it may be breaking up according to some if
the imagers. Still, comets are so cool!
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up Podcast for March: Comet PanSTARRS, how bright?