Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS Peaking

By: Yuri Beletsky


Region: Americas

Site: Atacama Desert - Chile

Date: March 2013

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As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day, two notable comets both reached their peak brightness in March 2013. Taking advantage of a rare imaging opportunity, both of these comets were captured in the sky together in the Atacama desert in South America. Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), visible on the upper left of the above image, is sporting a long tail dominated by glowing green ions. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), visible near the horizon on the lower right, is showing a bright tail dominated by dust reflecting sunlight. The tails of both comets point approximately toward the recently set Sun. Comet Lemmon was just barely visible to the unaided eye before sunset in southern skies during that time. Comet PanSTARRS was visible with the unaided eye in the both hemispheres. Click the constellation icon above the image to see labels. Yuri Beletsky

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