Look west this evening for Comet PANSTARRS

Marjorie Otto

 

If you look west this evening, around 6pm, just after sunset, you may get lucky and spot the comet, PANSTARRS.

The comet is near the moon in the west horizon. It is best viewed up to 15 minutes after twilight. The viewing time is relatively short, but if you catch it at just the right time, you’ll be able to see it.

According to the NASA Asteroid and Comet Watch page, this comet was discovered just last year. As it approaches the sun, it becomes more visible as its ice melts.

To be able to see a comet with the naked eye is a rarity which happens about once every five to ten years.

2013 happens to be a special year, with another, much brighter comet, ISON, that will be appearing at the end of this year.

PANSTARRS will be visible for a large part of March, so if you miss it tonight, you have many more days to try.