Comet PANSTARRS, officially identified as C/2011 L4, will become visible this week to the Northern Hemisphere residents at the left side of a thin, crescent moon. Binoculars without any weather disturbances can provide a spectacular view and some online sites offer images or live streaming of Comet PANSTARRS' peak on March 15.
Spectators can watch the Comet PANSTARRS flyby climax online through the Virtual Telescope Project on March 15 at 17:00 UT. The web site link is http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/2013/03/06/comet-pan-starrs-online-live-observing-session-15-mar-2013/.
"Within a few days, comet PANSTARRS will be making its appearance in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere just after twilight," Amy Mainzer stated. She is the chief investigator of NASA's NEOWISE mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
On how and when to have the best view of the Comet PANSTARRS, Amy Mainzer shared: "There is a catch to viewing comet PANSTARRS. This one is not that bright and is going to be low on the western horizon, so you'll need a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather."
"Look too early and the sky will be too bright. Look too late, the comet will be too low and obstructed by the horizon. This comet has a relatively small window," Rachel Stevenson, NASA's Postdoctoral Fellow at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, further added.
Though it is hard to determine where Comet PANSTARRS will be precisely visible, viewers are recommended to remember the location where the sun sets in the west. Approximately 30 minutes after the sunset, Comet PANSTARRS will be at its brightest point just to the left of where the sun dropped below the horizon.
The closest approach of Comet PANSTARRS to the planet Earth and the Sun poses no threat of impact similar to the 2013 Russia meteor blast that happened on February 15. Meanwhile, other details on the near-Earth space objects are available at the web site http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch and Twitter with the account @asteroidwatch.