torsdag 11 april 2013

Goodbye Comet PANSTARRS

The northern nights are rapidly getting lighter and lighter for each night now and soon even the brightest stars will be washed out by the light of the Nordic spring.

With an almost constant snowfall for the last 4 weeks here in Tromsø, the chances of seeing the last aurora displays of the season has been slim, but on April 8, there was finally a clear night again and the fading comet PANSTARRS could be seen against a deep-blue sky at midnight and also some auroras could be made out despite low activity.

Only twice since March 20, has there been any chance of seeing the comet, and in a small gap in the clouds on April 4 I managed to get a single 5-second shot as the comet passed by the Andromeda Galaxy.

Comet PANSTARRS (right) and the Andromeda Galaxy (left)

On April 8, the conditions allowed for a deeper exposure and this 8-minute long exposure reveals the comet's broad dust tail.

Comet PANSTARRS broad dust tail