Explore Calendar of Events Comet PANSTARRS, March 2013
March 5, 2013
12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
Griffith Observatory

Comet PANSTARRS, March 2013

Comet PANSTARRS was observed from Griffith Observatory through telescopes and binoculars through most of March 2013.

Upcoming Astronomical Observing at Griffith Observatory

March 2013

Comet PANSTARRS was visible to observers in southern California through much of March 2013 above the western horizon for more than an hour after sunset. It was clearly visible through binoculars, but only faintly visible to the unaided eye.

Visitors were able to observe Comet PANSTARRS through Griffith Observatory’s telescopes during the month of March, as long as skies were clear, the Observatory was open, and the comet was visible.

For more information, click on these links:

Martin McKenna “Night Sky Hunter” – An Observing Guide To Comets

Stephen James O’Meara – Secrets of High-Power Comet Observing

The chart below shows the comet’s position in March with respect to the western horizon 30 minutes after sunset.

For observers with their own telescopes, the epoch 2000 positions (exact for 8:00 p.m., P.D.T.) are

Date RA Dec Magnitude*
  h m °  
March 5 00 03.1 -15 40 2.0
March 6 00 08.9 -13 07  
March 7 00 14.0 -10 30  
March 8 00 18.5 -07 51  
March 9 00 22.4 -05 12  
March 10 00 25.6 -02 33 1.8
March 11 00 28.3 +00 03  
March 12 00 30.4 +02 36  
March 13 00 32.0 +05 04  
Date RA Dec Magnitude*
  h m °  
March 14 00 33.3 +07 28  
March 15 00 34.2 +09 46 2.3
March 16 00 34.8 +11 59  
March 17 00 35.1 +14 06  
March 18 00 35.3 +16 08  
March 19 00 35.3 +18 05  
March 20 00 35.3 +19 57 3.1
March 21 00 35.1 +21 45  
March 22 00 34.8 +23 29  
Date RA Dec Magnitude*
  h m °  
March 23 00 34.5 +25 09  
March 24 00 34.2 +26 46  
March 25 00 33.8 +28 19 3.8
March 26 00 33.4 +29 49  
March 27 00 33.0 +31 17  
March 28 00 32.6 +32 42  
March 29 00 32.1 +34 04  
March 30 00 31.7 +35 25 4.5
March 31 00 31.2 +36 43  

Magnitudes are estimated from data provided here.

Comet PANSTARRS photographed from Griffith Observatory’s solar telescope dome on March 12, 2013, at 8:00 p.m., P.D.T. (Photos by A. Cook, Griffith Observatory)

Comet PANSTARRS was first spotted at Griffith Observatory on March 9. This is how it appeared from Griffith Observatory’s solar telescope dome at 6:46 p.m., P.S.T.

Comet PANSTARRS as it appeared from the solar telescope dome at Griffith Observatory on March 10, at 7:53 p.m., P.D.T.

Comet Panstarrs through the Griffith Observatory 12-inch Refractor on March 12, at 7:36 p.m., P.D.T.

April 2013

Comet PANSTARRS faded in April and was too faint to be observed from the urban conditions at Griffith Observatory. However, from wilderness locations with clear horizons and dark skies, the comet was still visible through binoculars and telescopes. The comet was best positioned for viewing in the northeast sky just before dawn.