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March 05, 2013

Comet PANSTARRS "Arrives" Sunday

For those of you following the Year of the Comet, the first entry worth looking for, PANSTARRS, should be visible right after sunset in the Northern Hemisphere perhaps as early as March 7th, but certainly by Sunday, March 10th.
Morons and ettes living in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and points south of roughly Charleston/Atlanta should get a good look of the comet about 3-5 degrees above the Western horizon:

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Note: tail length is computer generated and will range wildly in appearance depending on latitude and darkness
Those of you living further north may need binoculars to enjoy a good view, as the setting sun will keep the sky glowing a bit too bright to see much detail. The comet will "rise" higher in the western sky over the next week-and-a-half, dimming but making for a great target of amateur telescopes and binoculars.


Just how bright PANSTARRS will get is unknown at this point, but it has been spotted from Buenos Aires from well within the city limits. Photographer Jim Gafford snapped this in Western Australia, to give you a sense of how bright it already is, with several days left before closest approach to the sun:

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posted by CAC at 08:44 PM

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