2013 has been unofficially dubbed “The year of the comets” (and asteroids too, apparently).
The first of those comets has been putting on a show in the Southern Hemisphere recently, and is not making it’s debut in the Northern Hemisphere.
Comet C/2011 L4, usually just simply referred to as Comet PanSTARRS, was just discovered in June 2011 by astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (or Pan-STARRS telescope) in Hawaii.
Blah blah blah, enough of that technical jargon.
How to get the best view of Comet PanSTARRS
The new comet was expected to be dimming in brightness in late February, but as it swings nearer to the sun it is luckily brightening again!
Yay for those of us stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere!
If you want a good look at Comet PanSTARRS, head outside just after sunset (but when the sun’s glow is still visible on the horizon) and look low in the sky.
Ever day the comet will be visible further and further North. Currently the tropics and lower United States can view the comet, but stay tuned to the western sky at sunset for the next few weeks to enjoy the show!
Here’s a handy graphic from Sky and Telescope to see where and when to look for Comet PanSTARRS.
Enjoy the next two weeks of Comet PanSTARRS viewing in the Northern Hemisphere. If you happen to capture any great images of the comet, please share them with us via Facebook, email, or even add them in a comment on this post!
[Photo: Irargerich, Buenos Aires/Flickr]