Hopefully the weather will "pan" out for this event over the next two weeks. March 12th looks like a good bet to see this "naked-eye" (no telescope needed but binoculars may help) comet with the new cresent Moon about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes after sunset. Comets are usually named after their discoverer(s) such as "Hale-Bopp" and "Hyakutake" - the last visible naked-eye comets to visit in 1996-97. This comet was named after a deep-sky survey project called "Pan-STARRS" an acronymn for the "Panoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System" which discovered the comet last year. Pan-STARRS is a long-period comet fresh in origin from the Oort Cloud - a huge collection of trillions of icy objects located way outside the orbit of Pluto. Although not as bright in appearance as Hale-Bopp or Hyakutake - due to its distance from Earth - Comet Pan-STARRS will be a nice forerunner for the much-anticipated Comet ISON later on this year.
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2/13/2023 06:18:30 pm
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Astronomy teacher 20+ years; father of three.