Comet PAN-STARRS 8 March 2013

Posted by jerry on March 19th, 2013 — Posted in Journal, Photography

Comet PAN-STARRS March 2013 by ijerry1
Comet PAN-STARRS March 2013, a photo by ijerry1 on Flickr.

This photo of comet PAN-STARRS was taken on 8 March. The comet was named for the PAN-STARRS observatory array in Hawaii where it was discovered as c/2011/L4. It took a couple of days trying, but I got there. And here’s how: I went up to Mt Stromlo armed with binoculars – about half an hour before sunset. This way I could set up in daylight, pre-focus the lens on a distant horizon and then wait for the comet to appear.

The setup was a canon 60D with a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 canon zoom lens, mounted on a tripod, with a remote release.

I used mirror lockup to reduce vibration to a minimum – and turned off the image stabilisation. You see, the thing is, that if the camera is mounted solidly on a tripod, then the image stabilising gyro will actually introduce vibration – so turn it off if you’re using a tripod.

I scanned the sky about a hand span above the horizon after the sun set. Towards the end of twilight I was rewarded with the sight of a faint light smudge – which in binoculars resolved into the definite comet shape you see here.

I used a 4-second exposure at f5.6 on ISO400 and a zoom of 275mm – so you could get the same photo with a 300mm kit lens. You could also get a pretty good image with a 200mm lens.

Now that the comet has shifted to the Northern hemisphere – there is now an opportunity for those in more northern countries to grab a similar shot

Good hunting! And why not comment with links to your photos? I’d love to see them 🙂