Comet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4


Observations (12.03.2013 - 16.03.2013) Tenerife/Volcan Teide

 Since 19th of March diverse places in South Germany and Austria 

Th.Boeckel, M.Rietze

in deutsch

The Comet

The real task of the, Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System '(PanSTARRS) in Hawaii is the thinning of the solar system for potentially dangerous asteroids. The 1.2 billion distanced comet to the sun was discovered on 06/06/2011 additional and was given the designation C/2011 L4. Thus PanSTARRS C/2011 L4 strolled through the solar system and in fall of 2012, the global observations got more intense and the brightness increased as expected in October to mag 10. However, in early 2013 came the message that the comet will probably not achieve the expected brightness. The brightness was estimated to mag 3 in March 2013. On But on the 12 of March I could observe in Tenerife a light translucent comet with a tail of about 1.5 ° degree at dusk. The corrected adoption of 2,0 mag to 0.5 / 0.0 mag have been confirmed by further observations. The curved tail was relatively short and it was clear that this comet will not become a McNaught (sightings of 19-20. March).  But in a joyfully manner, PanSTARRS stabbed out in a special appearance. An almost 90°degree opened white fan (dust tail) determined the habit at the first week of April 2013. But after the perihelion nearly no colored tinge of the coma could be observed. The ion tail which initially appeared only minimally was recognized very faint after the circumnavigation, but increased just a little in the further course. At the moment I can’t remember of a comet in the past, which had a similar appearance. (Sources named on the end of page)


The map shows the way of comet. The vertical orbit to the earth explains why the comet could not be seen till the 10th of march in the northern hemisphere.


Last update 11. Juni

 Germerswang near Munich

Photo taken with Canon 50D, Nikon 300mm f4.0, ASA 800, Exp 4x240 sec

Nice to see the long tail of the fading comet PanSTARRS with apprx. mag 9.

Update 16th of April

Auerberg, near Schongau/Bavaria

Comet PanSTARRS by Th.Boeckel    Comet PanSTARRS by Th.Boeckel

Newton 8, f4.5, Canon 50D, Exp.100sec, ASA 800,

In the morning hours clear sky made some photos possible. On the second photo you can discover a little meteor. PanSTARRS is fading, the mag is may 5.0-5.5 and nearly not visible with the naked eye. Turbulent atmosphere!

Update 07/08th of April

Zugspitze (Top of Germany)


Martin and me at the photo stop at 17:15 (, Right: Open sky camp

To stand in the snowfall (left) and temperatures down to -14 ° C with the Astro equipment on the locked Zugspitze station leaves in this situation a strong doubt to your own mind. What am I doing here at all !?! But about 19:00 it cleared off hesitant, and now we suddenly had the feeling might standing still to the right place. At 19:25, the upper cloud layer was completely dissolved, and a fantastic alpine landscape appeared, and  until 4.45 in the morning the celestrial world was perfect.

Phantastic panorma view after the clear off



Photos from the Comet near M31 Andromeda in the evening at 20.44 MESZ ...

 Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckeltb    Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckeltb  mr

.... and in the early morning

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel1     Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel2     3

     Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel 4     Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel5(tb)

 Photo 1-5: Canon IS II 70-200m (180mm APS 260mm) on Canon 50D, f2,8. Exp. 90 sec, ASA 400 (Guiding Vixen GP, 3:45 MESZ, 1:45 UTC)

Photo 3: Despite the appearance of high clouds the comet appeared rather clear

Comet 4,4° near Andromeda Galaxy M31, Zugspitze South Germany (2962m osl).Heading out for good weather sice two weeks in South Germany we had to escape on the top of Germany, the Mount Zugspitze (2962 m osl.) in Bavaria. A clear view shows the comet in the range of ca. 4,5° from M31 Andromeda in the morning hour at 3.50 MESZ. Both could be seen with naked eye. Comet brightness may 4,0-4,5 mag

Update 2nd of April, 20.55  MESZ

Axams 1400m osl. near Innsbruck

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

  Canon 200m (APS 280mm) on Canon 50D, f3,2. Exp.. 34 sec, ASA 400

Comet near Andromeda Galaxy M31. The light hazy condition amplyfied the up lightning from the Inn valley and disturbed a clear observation.

Update 20th of March, 19.50

 Germerswang near Fuerstenfeldbruck / Munich

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel   Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

Canon 50D on Nikon Tele 300m (digital 480mm) f2,8. Exp. 4-9 sec

Comet now with a well developed tail. This photos were taken in the evening through a lucky cloud gap

19th of March, 19.20

 Germerswang near Fuerstenfeldbruck / Munich

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel   Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

 Nikon 300m (digital 480mm) on Canon 50D, f2,8. Bel. 16 sec, ASA 200/400

Comet with a well developed an spreaded tail. This photos were taken near Fuerstenfeldbruck. Easy to see with naked eye

Update 17th of March

Here a nice polar light add on from Island

    mr mr

More at  ALPE by Martin Rietze

March the 12/13th

The beginning in Tenerife, with greetings from the great comet


The volcano Teide in the evening mood

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

Comet PanSTARRS together with the 22hours young moon sickle in the range of 6°; (19:35)

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel   Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel   Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

Left right 12 March (20:20), Middle 13th of March (20.05) The moon sickle is apprx. 8° above the comet

About 2,5 ° the comet begins to brighten up.

The Comet in timelapse    Video 1   Video2   Video 3

March the 16th, 19:55

Volcano Teide

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel   Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Th. Boeckel

An ugly big foehn-lens behind the Teide avoided more observations.

Now we are heading out for PanSTARRS in the Alps.....

Extra Observation, 15th of March,

Observatory Gilching

Comet, Komet C/2011 PanSTARRS L4, by Thomas Rose, Astrogilde

An here a 900mm shot from Thomas Rose

ALL comet reports

  Lovejoy C/2014 Q2   C/2013 R1 Lovejoy  C/2012 S1 ISON   C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS   P1/2009 Garradd    

  C103P/ Hartley     2/09 N3 Lulin      11/08 Holmes      1/07 McNaught    10/06  Swan M4  

  5/06  SchwWAch  1/05  Machholz     5/04: Q4/Neat     3/01: Ikeya-Zhang

Further Links

Bright Comets (Special edition)   KOMETEN.INFO




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 ©2013 photos& text by Thorsten Boeckel ( tb or no index)

 ©2013 photos by Martin Rietze (mr)