We may be headed to a very good year for seeing comets. Including one in just a few weeks!
The best dates to look may be March 12th and 13th when Pan-STARRS emerges in the western sunset sky not far from the crescent Moon. A comet and the Moon, together, framed by twilight-blue is a rare sight. "My guess is that the primary feature visible to the naked eye will be the gaseous coma around the head of the comet," says Knight. "The comet's tail will probably require binoculars or a small telescope." Two other key dates are March 5th when the comet comes closest to Earth (about 100 million miles away) and March 10th, when the comet comes closest to the sun. The dose of solar heating it receives just inside the orbit of Mercury could be just what the comet needs to push it into the realm of naked-eye visibility.