First pictures of a rare comet, 2013 Pan-STARRS, have started to surface from its four-day trajectory across Northern Hemisphere skies. It will be visible until 16 March but after that the comet will not be seen above the Earth again for another 10,000 years.
View of Comet PanSTARRS from downtown Phoenix Brad Martin
Photos of the comet have gone viral over the internet of the comet, which can be viewed on the left side of a thin, crescent moon. You can watch live streaming of the comet at www.virtualtelescope.eu/2013/03/06/comet-pan-starrs-online-live-observing-session-15-mar-2013/ or visit spaceweather.com to gain access to real time pictures of Pan-STARRS.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS as seen from Mount Dale, Western Australia
. The lights on the distant horizon are from the city of Armadale, which is southeast of Perth
Mark Bailey, the director of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, said: "After sunset, scan the horizon roughly in the western direction. On 13 March, there is a nice association with thin crescent moon. You can use the moon as a guide, and search just down or to the left of the moon. Through binoculars, you should be able to see the head of the comet and certainly the two types of the tail.
To have a clear view of the comet, one needs to wait about 45 minutes after sunset. The comet, which is roughly 20 million miles away from the sun, will appear barely 10 degrees to the west of the moon.
Close-up of comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS as seen from Mount Dale, Western Australia
According to Nasa, the comet "will appear as a bright point of light with its diffuse tail pointing nearly straight up from the horizon like an exclamation point".
As the comet is going to hang low on the western horizon, there needs to be unobstructed views to the southwest at twilight. The comet will be visible from a tall building or rooftop and the night needs to be clear.
Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS: Where to Spot Celestial Trailblazer
Photo of Comet 2013 PANSTARRS taken on 2 March
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