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  1. #1
    Sagan's Avatar Carl Sagan
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    Comet PanSTARRS (APOD, NASA)



    Explanation: Sweeping quickly through
    southern skies on March 5, Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) follows the Sun toward the western horizon in this twilight scene. In the foreground is Australia's CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, a 64 meter wide steerable dish that is no stranger to the space age exploration of comets. In March of 1986 the Parkes dish tracked ESA's Giotto spacecraft as it flew by Comet Halley and received the first ever closeup images of Halley's nucleus. At naked-eye visibility, Comet PanSTARRS made its closest approach to planet Earth on March 5. Its closest approach to the Sun will be on March 10. Heading north, PanSTARRS now begins a much anticipated appearance low in the northern hemisphere's western skies after sunset. On March 12, look for the comet hugging the western horizon near a young crescent Moon.

    http://youtu.be/zSgiXGELjbc

    "A still more glorious dawn awaits
    Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
    A morning filled with 400 billion suns
    The rising of the milky way"

    "The sky calls to us
    If we do not destroy ourselves
    We will one day venture to the stars" -Carl Sagan

  2. #2
    Sagan's Avatar Carl Sagan
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    Explanation: Two impressive comets will both reach their peak brightness during the next two weeks. Taking advantage of a rare imaging opportunity, both of these comets were captured in the sky together last week over the
    Atacama desert in South America. Comet C/2012 F6 (Lemmon), visible on the upper left of the above image, is sporting a long tail dominated by glowing green ions. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), visible near the horizon on the lower right, is showing a bright tail dominated by dust reflecting sunlight. The tails of both comets point approximately toward the recently set Sun. Comet Lemmon will be just barely visible to the unaided eye before sunset in southern skies for the next week, and then best viewed with binoculars as it fades and moves slowly north. Comet PanSTARRS, however, will remain visible in southern skies for only a few more days, after which it will remain bright enough to be locatable with the unaided eye as it moves into northern skies. To find the giant melting snowball PanSTARRS, sky enthusiasts should look toward the western horizon just after sunset. Deep sky observers are also monitoring the brightening of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), which may become one of the brightest objects in the entire night sky toward the end of 2013.


    NOTE: images and data provided by NASA are public domain.
    http://youtu.be/zSgiXGELjbc

    "A still more glorious dawn awaits
    Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
    A morning filled with 400 billion suns
    The rising of the milky way"

    "The sky calls to us
    If we do not destroy ourselves
    We will one day venture to the stars" -Carl Sagan

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