Object: Comet PanSTARRS C/2011 L4 and Crescent Moon
Date: March 12, 2013
Time: Approx. 19:25 LST/ 02:25 UT
Location: ~2500ft or 762m atop Harquahala Mtn range near Aguila Arizona USA
Gear: Binoculars 8 x 56 6 degree FoV
Detector: Visual Sketch
Magnitude: Comet 1 Crescent Moon -5.6
Weather: Clear sky, windy at higher elevation of mountain, Temp- mid 60’s.
Hello friends of ASOD!,
It’s been quite some time since I last posted anything on this site, but I finally got in gear and produced this colorful scene. I must admit that this was by far the best view and conjunction of PanSTARRS and the Crescent Moon. I had scouted some scenic spots around the neighborhood but none gave me the Southwest look I had in mind.
Harquahala Mounatins here I come!
A mild to tracherous climb on my “4×4″ and 5 miles later at 2500ft elevation, I found what I was looking for. There in the distance of a sloping mountain stood a set of Saguaro cacti and Ocotillo trees, silhouetted against the backround twilight sky. The sketch was not made on site, it would take me forever and the setting conjunction only had another 20 to 25 minutes before it was gone. A rough sketch was in order, jotting down pertinent objects and annotating further details like; varying colors of the twilight sky, degree of earthshine on the Moon and so on.
I made I mistake!
Well, in choosing my paper grade, I got a Canson 12″ x 18” / 30 x 45 cm. with a slight texture finish on the surface. I was loving the results as I first lay down the sky colors but, later on, I was noticing that there were tiny uncolored pockets left uniformly. I continued anyhow, but it would give a hard time later when I added the comet. Some of those pockets were as big as the comet itself and would render it almost invisible. Well, I worked around it until I was satisfied. I might have given PanSTARRS one full magnitude more than necessary but, I’ll do it for the sake of showing it. Out in the field, remember, you had to squint your eyes or avertedly look for it, if you knew its whereabouts.
Convenience over quality. I cheated by not connecting my scanner to the computer and instead took a picture of the sketch. Once on my phone, I messed with the exposure and contrast to liven up the colors somewhat. I also used it to put some text at the bottom of the sketch along with my name. Well, you be the judge!
Dark and Clear Skies to all,