2013 Comet PANSTARRS [PHOTOS]: Where and How to Best View Comet’s Peak Beginning March 12


The 2013 Comet PANSTARRS begins to display its brightest spectacular view on Tuesday, March 12, shortly after 7 p.m. Experts urge the curious viewers to grab their binoculars, go to an area on the western horizon free from tall buildings, trees and bright city lights in order to have a best shot watching the rare phenomenon.

From March 12 to March 16, Comet PANSTARRS will be visible hovering above the western sky at sunset. The comet will slowly set approximately 45 minutes after the Sun. On Tuesday, March 12, viewers are suggested to look west after 7 p.m. close to the brand-new crescent moon where the comet will show a bright, long and spread trail.

Comet PANSTARRS is expected to be very close to the horizon and mountains can block the viewer's sight. "The tail might actually be pointing through the new moon. So you see that cool little fingernail crescent moon, you could have a comet tail spiking right through it," Seth Jarvis of the Clark Planetarium stated.

In Australia, some spectators managed to capture nice images of the Comet PANSTARRS. David Lee, an Australian amateur astronomer, and his wife, Alison, spotted the comet earlier this week at their home's observing site close to Maitland, New South Wales despite the cloudy weather.

"It was easy to see with the naked eye in the twilight with a short tail visible in binoculars. We were lucky to get it, not only in a clear sky but to see it in a small gap between trees. We have a very bad western horizon," David Lee told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette through an email.

Star Date Magazine provided the following tips on where and how to best view the 2013 Comet PANSTARRS peak beginning on March 12:

1.       Locate a view free from buildings, trees, bright lights and cloudy skies in order to see Comet PANSTARRS's magnificent view since it will be very low and close to the horizon.

2.       Face west approximately 30 to 40 minutes after the sun has set.

3.       The comet will appear close to the new and slim crescent Moon in the dark western sky from March 12 to 14.

4.       THE Comet PANSTARRS visibility to the naked eye is expected to carry on for several nights while the comet's visibility with the use of binoculars is until April.

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