Fred Espanak – aka Mr. Eclipse – caught this cool video of Comet PANSTARRS from San Simon, Arizona last night (March 12, 2013). It’s a sped-up version of what you’d have seen if you had caught the comet near the moon last night. The pair were in the west after sunset. As Earth turns beneath the sky, they appeared to set below the western horizon.
Fred Espenak, by the way, is a retired NASA astrophysicist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where he worked with infrared spectrometers to probe the atmospheres of the planets. He is also known as Mr. Eclipse because of his work on predicting and observing solar eclipses. He has written over a dozen books on eclipses and continues to maintain NASA’s official eclipse web site, as well personal web sites on eclipse photography and astrophotography.
Skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere have been waiting in anticipation for their own views of PANSTARRS after an abundance of photos and video from Southern Hemisphere skywatchers has spread across the Internet – and on Earthsky.org! Visit our favorite photos of Comet PANSTARRS so far.
Did you miss PANSTARRS last night? Well, you’re in luck. Learn more about another chance to catch the moon and Comet PANSTARRS on March 13.
Bottom line: Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak, has captured Comet PANSTARRS on video. His video shows the March 12 crescent moon and comet near each other, sinking below the western horizon as the minutes tick by. Awesome job, Fred!