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Mon, 16 Nov 2015 - Catching up with PanSTARRS S2

While we all wait (im)patiently for Comet CATALINA to poke her head above our eastern horizon, there is another comet on view. Comet C/2014 S2 Panstarrs - which was a nice sight in binoculars and small telescopes a month or so ago - has faded to around 9th magnitude, but is still hanging in there, and can be found between the stars of the Little Dipper and Draco, The Dragon. And it won't move far between now and the end of the year.



Because of the horrible weather up here in Cumbria where I live I've been unable to get any good views of S2 recently, but others have had more luck. I asked Neil Norman - a very experienced and dedicated comet observer who runs the popular "Comet Watch" group on Facebook - how it is doing at the moment:

"It's doing great!" he told me in an online chat. "I observed it on Friday in excellent condition, and determined it to be mag 9.2 ,Dia 3 ' and Degree of Condensation as 3 .Later that night,  in pitch darkness, I saw it with 10x50 binoculars, and gave a mag of 8.9! Lovely little object , still around a month til perihelion too!"

So, S2 is still visible in binoculars... just... and may get a little brighter by mid-December, when it reaches perihelion. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.


Added by: Stuart Atkinson