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Oswego Professor Shares Photos of Comet Pan-STARRS

Comet Pan-STARRS over Lake Ontario on Sunday
Comet Pan-STARRS over Lake Ontario on Sunday

OSWEGO, NY – SUNY Oswego’s Scott Roby shared these images of the comet currently in our skies.

According to the astronomy professor, this is Comet Pan-STARRS.

Comet Pan-STARRS
Comet Pan-STARRS

The photos show Comet Pan-STARRS over Lake Ontario.

Though Comet Pan-STARRS turned out not to be a naked-eye comet as originally predicted, Roby did capture it with a camera on Sunday, an hour after sunset.

“The comet will remain in our evening skies, drifting northward, through April, though it is getting fainter week by week,” he said.

The photo was taken with a standard SLR digital camera on a tripod, using ISO 800, open aperture, and a 30-second exposure.

A comet is normally named after the person who discovered it.

The comet will remain in our evening skies, drifting northward, through April, though it is getting fainter week by week
The comet will remain in our evening skies, drifting northward, through April, though it is getting fainter week by week

“But, Pan-STARRS is named after an automated sky survey (robotic telescopes and software) put in place by a large team of astronomers,” Roby explained. “This survey is helping to discover more near-Earth asteroids like the one that passed by our highest satellites last month.”

Comets are “dirty icebergs” in space left over from the birth of our solar system, he said.

“Comet Pan-Starrs seems to be a first-time visitor to the inner solar system, having travelled for millions of years from the distant Oort’s Cloud of comets, which stretches nearly half-way to the nearest stars,” he added.