Skip to comments.Bright comet 'lighting sky' as it flies by Earth
Posted on 03/08/2013 4:34:55 PM PST by BenLurkin
The icy mass, called C/2011 L4 Pan-Starrs, should be visible with binoculars or a telescope from 8 March.
But in the following days, it will become even brighter and could be seen with the naked eye.
Astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere have already been treated to a fly past, with reports that the body was as bright as stars in the Plough.
The comet was first discovered in June 2011, spotted by the Pan-Starrs telescope (hence its name) in Hawaii as a faint object more than a billion kilometres away.
Astronomers believe it originated in the Oort Cloud, a region of space packed full of comets, and has been hurtling towards the Sun for millions of years.
It is thought to be a non-periodic comet, which means this could be the first time it has ever passed through the inner Solar System, and it might not return for another 100,000 years.
On 10 March, it will make its closest approach to the Sun, passing at a distance of about 45 million kilometres.
As it heats up, the ice and dust in the Pan-Starrs' outer crust turn to gas, making it bright in the night sky. Solar wind and pressure from sunlight gives the body its characteristic double tail.
Prof Bailey said: "The closer you get to the Sun, the more of this material is ejected, and therefore the brighter the comet can be."
He said that the nucleus of the comet was estimated to be about 20-30km in diameter, but the gas and dust surrounding meant it could span more than a million kilometres.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Prof Mark Bailey Armagh Observatory
I couldn’t see anything tonight but it would have been pretty low on the horizon this far north.
Cloudy here in Northeast Texas! Drats!
The Plough is the Big Dipper.
UH scientists uncover evidence comets helped spark life on Earth
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 6, 2013
A comet strike could mark the end of life on Earth.
Yes. Maybe it’s time to start all over again.
The Calm Before The Solar Storm? NASA Warns “Something Unexpected Is Happening To The Sun’”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ | March 8, 2013 | Mark Prigg
Posted on 03/08/2013 3:49:49 PM PST by Biggirl
Thanks, if it isn’t already, could make a good topic.
The orthodox astronomers and cosmologist are STILL stuck on this outmoded model of comets despite every flyby and impact and cometary study done in the last ten years showing NO SIGNIFICANT ICE OR WATER and essentially no discernible difference between a comet and any other asteroid other than orbital. Comets are an electrical and plasma phenomenon, not the mere ablation of an icy mass.
We had good skies last night, but I couldn’t seem to find it, using my binoculars. If someone is in the Eastern part of the US(VA), which direction should I be looking? I might have waiting too late in the evening. Isn’t it supposed to be visible just after Sunset?
This article has some viewing suggestions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/9917651/First-chance-to-glimpse-comet-on-Friday.html
Comet PanSTARRS -- The Movie: On the evening of March 11, 2013, Comet PanSTARRS was captured in a time lapse sequence as it set over the Dos Cabezas Mountains.