A great day

I just popped out on the off chance I might be able to spot Comet Panstarrs tonight. I had a clear sky, a rough idea of where to look and my binoculars. And there it was. Just peeping above the hedge to the north west.

I grabbed the camera and took a few hasty shots before it dipped below the trees and shrubs. In some of the photos, you can see the Andromeda galaxy, too.

I’ve had a lovely birthday today and this just ends it on the right note.

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How to find a comet

Comet Panstarrs is visible low in the north western sky just after sunset. You’ll need a pair of binoculars at the moment as the comet is barely brighter than the sky that surrounds it. Later in the month it will be visible later in the evening but it’s getting dimmer as it heads away from us. Find where the sun set and look to the right.

Yesterday, with a clear western sky promised, I drove down to Broadpool in Gower to try and get some photos of the comet. Alas, I was beaten by the cloud, which formed a dark band just where Panstarrs was due to be. Even the sunset wasn’t spectacular. I drove home disappointed.

This evening, I went back a bit earlier but the same cloud band seemed to be there again. At least the sunset was better and I got a few photos I was pleased with. Imagine my horror, then, to see dark horizontal smudges on all the photos! I’d cleaned the sensor before leaving and the wipe had left smudges. Panic! I’ve just spent half an hour cleaning, checking, re-cleaning and rechecking. At least they weren’t scratches!

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