Comet Pan-STARRS Passes Close to Earth

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

"After sunset on March 14, use the waxing crescent moon and binoculars to find Comet Panstarrs (C/2011 L4) near the western horizon. Find a level and unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, and note where the sun sets on the horizon. Then search for the comet above the sunset point as dusk ebbs towards nightfall. Depending on viewing conditions, the comet should become visible through binoculars around 45 to 60 minutes after sunset."

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Now's your chance to see the comet that passed within 100 million miles of Earth last week.

At twilight Tuesday, the comet called Pan-STARRS will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere above the western horizon -- right next to a crescent moon.

California astronomer Tony Phillips says the glare of the setting sun may make it difficult to see the comet with the naked eye. But he says the slender moon will be "super beautiful." Toss in a comet, and it will be a special 2-for-1.

Remember your binoculars, but be certain not to point them at the setting sun. Next week, the comet should be easier to spot.

Pan-STARRS is making its first-ever cruise through the inner solar system. It passed within 28 million miles of the sun Sunday.

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