Near the end of May, Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS passed through a chance alignment of its orbital plane with Earth's, revealing a long antitail
pointing back toward the Sun.
35m reflector + CCD) of an antitail
on several occasions during April and May: April 24.
This sunward spike, or antitail
, had not been seen on Kohoutek before, and the astronauts debated if it was real or an illusion.
My third memorable one, C/1990 K1, put on a nice performance in August and September 1990, brightening to 3rd magnitude as it cruised the Milky Way and growing a broad antitail
the following year.
We could see not only the comet's thin, 30cents-long ion tail but also a rare and unexpected 10cents-long antitail
, one that appeared to point toward the Sun instead of away from it.
It had a tail that extended nearly 30 [degrees], as well as a bright, spike-shaped antitail
half as long.
This almost 2 [degrees] -long antitail
appeared broad and diffuse (see page 33).
The comet also exhibited an antitail
the likes of which had never been seen.
Sekanina predicts there will be no Sunward-pointing antitail
in late March, given the geometry of the flyby.
You might even catch something of scientific value - a disconnection in the comet's tail, a sudden brightening, or the appearance of an antitail
Visually, the directions of the antitail
and normal tail diverged by approximately 150 [degrees], with the former preceding the comet's head.
Just past perihelion and on its way out of the solar system, this comet surprised me by displaying a beautiful antitail
-- one that projects toward the Sun.