Chasing Comet Panstarrs, March 16, 2013 / Komet Panstarrs am 16. März 2013, Berlin

Comet Panstarrs appeared not as bright as it was supposed but became visible in Middle-Europe. On saturday, March 16, the sky was bright and clear most of the day in Berlin. However shortly before sunset clouds were to be seen in the west. This was not a very good prospect for catching the comet. The object was still very close to the horizon and after 7.00 pm it wasn’t entirely dark. Nevertheless the comet could be seen on the picture as the dot closest to the horizon (click on the photo to see a larger version). The picture was taken near Berlin-Wannsee. Temperatures were dropping soon after sunset and it was a very cold night. The lake was partly frozen again.

If you want to see the comet binoculars are recommended. The moon will become brighter every day making it more difficult to identify the object with pure eyes. A map including the moon’s position might be useful.  There are many star maps recently in the web however using them needs some amateur-astronomical training to translate the map to actually find the comet. The comet is heading N/NW and there you have not very spectacular star signs which would make orientation easy. By end of the month Panstarrs will come closer to Cassiopeia which you could easily identify.

Der Komet Panstarrs zeigte schon rasch nicht die Helligkeit die ihm manche zugetraut hatten.  Am Samstag, den 16. März war der Himmel lange klar. Jedoch zogen kurz vor Sonnenuntergang im Westen hohe Wolken auf, die die Chancen verringerten den Kometen aufzufinden. Nach 19.00 war das Objekt bereits nahe dem Horizont und es dämmerte immer noch.  Trotzdem lässt sich der Komet als kleiner, verwaschener Punkt in der Nähe des Horizonts zwischen den Wolken erkennen.