Comet Pan-Starrs in the sky for next couple of days

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 7:21pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 7:23pm

2013 has been and will continue to be a big year for Astronomers.

Tuesday night is the first night we will be seeing the first of four comets in the sky this year.

 Comet Pan-Starrs will make it's first and last orbital pass around the sun this week.

Astronomers expect it to look pretty spectacular because they have not seen a bright comet like this one in quite sometime.

"2013 so far has been kind of exciting for Astronomy. We got the meteor that blew up over Russia, the asteroid that passed close by the Earth and now the comet Pan-Starrs, so its been pretty exciting so far", said  Robert Parish with the Center for Earth and Space Science Education at TJC.

Parish says you do not need a high tech telescope to see the comet.

Parish says the comet will be visible to the naked eye.

"Comets are notoriously hard to predict. They were predicting Pan-Starrs to be a lot brighter than it turned out to be but it's still bright in the nighttime sky."

Astronomers discovered comet Pan-Starrs in Hawaii back in 2011.

Parish says after new objects are discovered they watch it over a period of time.

They then calculate the orbit and determine when it will come around the sun and be visible to Earth.

Most comets travel into our solar system, sling shot around the sun and make additional appearances over the years.

But, comet Pan-Starrs will only orbit around once and we will never see it again, making it even more exciting for the science world.

"They orbit in and they kind of go back out and they will come back but Pan- Starrs does not do that. It will come in once and that's it," said  TJC Planetarium Assistant Jennifer Rader.
 

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