Rare comet will be visible to the naked eye shortly after sunset Monday
Mark Johnson, newsnet5.com
7:23 AM, Mar 11, 2013
9:12 PM, Mar 11, 2013
CLEVELAND - You can call it C/2011 L4. No, it's not a character from a Star Wars movie. It's a comet, and we've got a great shot of viewing it this week.
Comet Pan-STARRS, as it is also known, made its closest passage to the sun this weekend -- about 28 million miles away Sunday. That should help the comet's tail become bright enough to be visible to the naked eye through Wednesday.
Scientists believe the best viewing in the Northern Hemisphere will be through March 13, as the comet slingshots past the sun. The best viewing time is right after sunset. The comet will be low in the western sky, about a hand's width up from the horizon.
The comet was discovered back in 2011 by scientists using the famed Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (or PAN-STARRS) telescope. This monster space-viewing lens is located in Hawaii. The comet has been viewable across the Southern Hemisphere for many months. Now, it's our turn.
Even though Comet PAN-STARRS' brightness will fade this week, it will still be visible by telescope or binoculars through the end of March into early April.