Sky-watchers in the Southern Hemisphere are currently being treated to the beautiful sight of comet PANSTARRS, which is visible to the naked eye in the early evening.

They won’t be hogging all the fun, though, as the comet can be seen starting March 7 from the Northern Hemisphere.

The comet, officially known as C/2011 L4, has been eagerly anticipated by amateur astronomers as it has approached the inner solar system. The icy ball was predicted to brighten significantly as the sun’s hot wind melted it, forming a long tail.

Those early predictions are now coming true as the comet makes an appearance in the night sky, visible with binoculars or the naked eye.

PANSTARRS is named after the Hawaiian telescope where it was discovered in 2011. It is not as famous as comet ISON, which is forecast to be one of the brightest comets ever seen, potentially visible during the day starting in November. But it is warming up the astronomical community and providing spectacular views in the meantime.

On March 5, the comet will be at its closest approach to the Earth, being slightly farther than 1 astronomical unit, the distance between our planet and the sun. Starting March 7, PANSTARRS will be visible to enthusiasts in the Northern Hemisphere shortly after sunset in the direction of the disappearing sun.

Viewers should try to find an unobstructed, cloudless spot away from city lights and look just above the horizon in the west. A few days later the sun’s glare will make the comet invisible, but it will reappear on March 12 or 13 near the crescent moon (so get your cameras ready!). The object will then be visible through the rest of the month, fading away in April or after.

VIDEO A Naked-Eye Comet in March 2013

Responses to "Get Your Camera: Spectacular Comet Views Lighting Up the Night Sky (Video)"

  1. Beautiful Thank you

  2. Anonymous says:

    When the Jews return to Zion
    and comets rip the sky;
    when the Holy Roman empire rises,
    then you & I must die,
    From the Eternal Sea he rises,
    creating armies on either shore,
    turning man against his brother,
    til Man exists no more.

    The Pope just resigned (& a new sex scandal follows on his heels,) lightening strikes the Vatican TWICE on the same day he announces his resignation & an earthquake strikes within 24 hrs OF his resignation; 2 meteors came down before his resignation & now this comet & another one in November, plus several bloodmoons coming up in 2014 that fulfill exactly Biblical Prophecy, I think people, we'd better start doing what Jesus told us to do! "Stay awake!" "Pay attention!" "Look up! The signs of the times shall be seen in the skies!"

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