Comet Pan-STARRS In The Evening Sky


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UPDATE:  Here are some images from people in Alabama of the comet!

from Steve Edmondson of Gurley

from Steve Edmondson of Gurley

From Prattville.

From Prattville.

From Pete Dobbs of Huntsville.

From Pete Dobbs of Huntsville.

From Alan Sealls in Mobile.

From Alan Sealls in Mobile.

You have the first of several opportunities in 2013 to see a comet in the sky!  Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) will be viewable in the sky after sunset for the next few days.  And with the thin crescent moon, you will be able to see it!  This comet was first discovered in June 2011 and for weeks it has only been visible in the southern hemisphere.  Here is a handy viewing map from NASA.

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The comet will gradually intensify and fade during the coming weeks and could be visible several evenings, but your best bet for seeing Pan-STARRS will be during the evenings of March 12-14 for about 30 minutes after sunset.  You will need an unobstructed view of the western sky.  You will not have much time to view the comet during twilight.  So you need to be at your viewing spot at sunset!

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This will not be the first opportunity to view a comet in 2013!  Later in November and December Comet ISON approaches the sun at a distance of 1.2 Million Kilometers from the sun.  If the comet survives this encounter we could witness a comet with a tail as bright as the moon.  If you somehow can’t get out and see this, then watch this video from March 5th showing this comet!

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