Comet PanSTARRS visible in March

Look out or Comet L4 PanSTARRS  during March.

With a clear western horizon, the comet will be visible as shown in the locations below. The comet is passing close to the Sun and is only visible shortly after sunset. A pair of binoculars will probably be required.

It will make its closest approach (about 45 million km) to the Sun on the 10th March and will proabably be best place to spot from 12th March onwards after which it will be come feinter.

732737main_Panstarrs-Nasagraphic

Credit: NASA

L4 PanSTARRS was discovered & named after the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System located on the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii over 18 months ago.

732742main_PanSTARRSII-full

Image credit: Astronomy Education Services/Gingin Observatory

Image of L4 PanSTARRS earlier this month from Mount Dale in western Australia

L4 PanSTARRS is known as a long period comet and originates from the Oort cloud which is a distant region of the outer solar system the contains icy debris and planetesimals. The Oort cloud is through to extend out to a distance of about 1 light year or so from the Sun.

Kuiper_oort

Credit: NASA