Comet PanSTARRS breaks through the Northwest cloudcover!

Comet PanSTARRS breaks through!

C/2011 L4, PanSTARRS, one of several comets scheduled to make sightseeing waves in the night sky in 2013, finally broke through the seemingly-neverending cloudcover and rain on Monday night, and that is where Steve Rosenow of Shelton's Loowit Imaging set up his tripod.

As darkness fell, Steve wandered over to a familiar spot along Mason Lake Road near the town of Shelton (same one he photographed last July's incredible display of lightning). There, he set up his Nikon DSLR and started scanning the skies with a zoom lens. As soon as he found PanSTARRS, the tripod was locked down and he began shooting.

The first images were captured just after 8 o'clock, the prime viewing time for the comet. Astronomers say the best time to view PanSTARRS is approximately an hour after sunset, and they advise to look west with a pair of binoculars. It is becoming increasingly visible to the unaided eye as it moves further up the night sky, becoming about as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper. Astronomers say Comet PanSTARRS could be visible to the unaided eye for about the next month or so, then telescopes will be needed to capture it both visually and photographically.

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