Ann and I went up to nearby Gates Pass in the Tucson Mountains to catch a glimpse of Comet Pan STARRS tonight and we were not disappointed.
The popular turn out at the Pass was overflowing with other Tucsonans, most with binoculars, spotting scopes, or the real thing. We had our spotting scope with us. From our vantage the comet showed up almost directly below the crescent moon. The tail was nicely defined and seemed to change color as dusk deepened, at one point looking somewhat green to me.
[Right, photo posted on Spaceweather.com by Brian Klimowski, who wrote,"I took the photo from an altitude
of about 9500 feet in the San Francisco Peaks near
Flagstaff.1-second exposure with my Canon digital
camera easily revealed the comet."]
We watched until the comet dropped low enough in the sky it appeared to be fading, possibly from trying to view it through the thicker atmosphere.
Only a couple people tried taking photos of the comet with handheld cameras using the flash.
For some reason, a line from an old Buffy St-Marie folk song ran through my mind, "God is alive, magic is afoot."
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