Comet PANSTARRS May Reach 2nd Magnitude

Comet PANSTARRS May Reach 2nd Magnitude

Comets Lemmon and Panstarrs-Yuri-Beletsky.jpg

It's good news for comet watchers. Comet PANSTARRS is brightening and is thought that it may reach second magnitude by March 10th 2013. Still much dimmer than the original prediction of -4 but at magnitude 2 it would be visible to the naked eye. 

March 10th is the date that the comet reaches perihelion. This is when the comet is nearest to the sun. 

To look for the comet you'll need to be able to see the low western horizon shortly after sunset in the northern hemisphere.

The comet is named PANSTARRS after the Hawaiian observatory that first detected it at magnitude 19 in June 2011. This comet has travelled from the very distant Oort cloud and is thought to have not entered the inner solar system before. If you miss it, don't worry as it is predicted that it will return in about 110,000 years!

If you see it try to get a picture and share it with us.

Image credit: Yuri Beletsky, Observatorio de Las Campanas, Chile

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