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Eyes on the Sky
with David Fuller

PANSTARRS high-tailing it

March 26, 2013

Late last week I was able to get a few more pictures of Comet PANSTARRS.  The one immediately below, taken by me, shows the comet on the 21st.  I did a little processing, but not much - mostly just some contrast.  However, as I was playing with the contrast, I notice something about the comet's tail.  There's more there than meets the eye.

Look at the picture closely.  Notice how the tail seems to fan out towards the left?  It's faint... really faint in fact, but some amount of it was picked up and displayed in the photo below.  I asked about that when I posted the picture on an astronomy forum the other day.  Last night, someone followed up by posting a link to a picture of PANSTARRS by Lorenzo Comolli that really captures that tail in fantastic detail - demonstrating just how far out that dust stretches into space.

I thought it made an interesting comparison, and it really helped me see more clearly what I knew I was capturing - sort of! - with my photos, but someone else was capturing much more clearly than I could.  Definitely an interesting comparison of the comet.


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  • comets