The window of opportunity is shrinking to see Comet Pan-STARRS! While it appears more like a small smudge of light in the twilight sky than a heavenly spectacle, the tiny celestial traveler will be visible over the next week or so to small telescopes, binoculars and even the naked eye.
Sky conditions permitting, and I have inside information they will, Comet Pan-STARRS will reside low in the western sky near the horizon shortly after sunset (approximately 7:36 p.m. CDT) tonight, March 13, 2013.
The best way to locate the comet is to find the thin, waxing crescent moon, which also will loom low in the western sky just after sunset. You may need binoculars or a small telescope for optimal viewing, but many Oklahomans have reported being able to see Comet Pan-STARRS with the naked eye.
As April approaches, Comet Pan-STARRS will grow fainter as it moves away from the sun and back out into the depths of space.
If you missed your chance to spot Comet Pan-STARRS, don't worry. Comet ISON is yet another comet that will be visible near the end of this year, and this one could be extraordinary! If the comet doesn't break apart on its close encounter flyby with the sun, it could become as bright as the full moon! All eyes will be to the sky this October, November and December as we wait in great anticipation to see just how bright ISON can burn.