Comet Spotting – Attempt #2 – SUCCESS!

After not being sure if we would make it out this evening due to Kelly being ill all last night and this morning and the strange weather that we have had today (rain, sleet, hail and snow!), we did manage to go out, and I am very glad that we did as we spotted the Comet!! 😉

Instead of going to Jenny Cliff, we made the shorter journey up to Shaugh Prior on Dartmoor, as we knew of a good vantage point there, and arrived shortly after sunset (about 18:30 with sunset being 18:18).  The Moon was a lot higher in the Sky tonight than last night, and a lot easier to spot as it was a much brighter crescent.  So we had a good look around it but couldn’t see anything to start with and it took about 25-30 minutes to spot anything remotely that looked like a Comet.

When I did finally spot something, the object that I saw was very slowly moving across the Sky horizontally and in the general area of where we thought the Comet ought to be.  It also had a very long but dark smoky tail but the head of it didn’t have any lights or a brightness to it.  We honestly didn’t (and still don’t) know what this object was – it definitely wasn’t an Airplane – it looked more like a meteor to me but who knows!!

At about 19:10 I decided to have one final look (it was absolutely freezing cold) and just had a general scan of the Sky underneath and around the Moon, and finally spotted it!  It was very faint and to the lower right of the Moon (not to the lower left as on previous nights) but it was unmistakeable.  You could see the head of the Comet being lit up by the Sun and the long tail reaching out behind it almost vertically.  We couldn’t see the twin tail unfortunately, but we were very glad that we finally saw it after nearly giving up!  It was a very exciting 10-15 minutes looking at it (whilst a Tawny Owl was calling in the nearby trees which did make it a bit creepy though!).

Here is an image from NASA that looks almost exactly the way we saw it, although it wasn’t quite as bright as this tonight.

Comet Pan-Starrs

Comet Pan-Starrs

Tomorrow is the last day of decent weather for the next few days, so we will be going out again to Shaugh Prior to have another look.  Am hoping we will get an even better view of it! 😉

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