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PostSubject: Spectacular Comet and Moon View Wows Stargazers   Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:52 am



The Comet Pan-STARRS may be a challenge to spot in the evening sky, but it still dazzled stargazers around the world when it paired up with the moon Tuesday (March 12).

Comet Pan-STARRS is currently appearing low on the western horizon just after sunset, making it hard to pick out in the bright evening twilight for some observers. But on Tuesday evening, a slender crescent moon served as a celestial guide for those stargazers with clear, dark skies.

Just northwest of Rio Rancho, N.M., astrophotographer Josh Knutson and his 8-year-old daughter Aurora were amazed at the sight of Comet Pan-STARRS and the moon shining side by side.

"The seeing conditions were near-perfect, with stable air as the remaining clouds dissipated at sunset," Knutson told SPACE.com in an email. "My daughter Aurora and I were able to clearly see a fair amount of the comet tail without visual aid."

Knutson said the comet and moon views were extra special because he was able to share it with his daughter. The two stargazers took turns posing with the moon, appearing as silhouettes in Knutson's images. "It's been great having her so involved," Knutson said.

While Knutson and his daughter had no problem spotting Comet Pan-STARRS, not every observer has been so lucky. While trying to snap images of the comet and moon over Las Vegas, photographer Tyler Leavitt learned the hard way how difficult separating Comet Pan-STARRS from the bright evening twilight could be.

"It was VERY difficult to find," Leavitt explained in an email. "I found it in binoculars first, then could barely see it with averted vision."

more here: http://www.space.com/20219-comet-pan-starrs-moon-photos.html

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