REAL SCIENCE: Comet Sighting Opportunities

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Time to break out the binoculars and telescopes you got for Christmas, kiddies--2013 is going to deliver not one but two opportunities to see comets!

 

In early March, Comet Pan-STARRS--named after the acronym of the observatory in Hawaii that first spotted it--will pass near enough to Earth to be seen at twilight.  A newcomer from the Oort Cloud, Pan-STARRS is an unknown quantity, so the beauty of its appearance can't be adequately predicted as yet.  It should be visible in the western sky at dusk from March 12th through the 24th--about the same time as the newly crescent Moon will be visible, providing a rare twilight treat for skywatchers.

 

If, however, Pan-STARRS fizzles in the heat of the Sun, November will be bringing us Comet ISON, which could put on a dazzling show, possibly even outshining the Moon and being visible in broad daylight.

 

"Two bright comets in one year is a rare treat," Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab said in a statement. "This could be good."

 

There's a short video about Pan-STARRS available at this link:

http://www.space.com/19676-bright-comet-pan-starrs-visible-march.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+spaceheadlines+%28SPACE.com+Headline+Feed%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

 

There's an internal link to an article on Comet ISON there, as well.

 

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