Dual comets to put up stargazing show starting next week and then in October

1997 was notable for several reasons, one of which was the Hale-Bopp comet that was visible for several days and (some claim) in daytime. I couldn’t verify this fact because where I live, we get the occasional cloud cover that lasts for 10-14 days like for instance the last two weeks, and when Hale-Bopp was present so, all I got were pictures.

I had seen comet Hyajutake the previous year which not only looked like a fuzzy lens flare, but seemed to also be named after some kind of exotic Sushi which we presume does, in fact, contain actual tuna.

I will only mention 1998 in passing because frankly, with the ice storm we had just in time to ruin all my birthday plans, 1998 sucked until at least August 4th, then progressively got worse from there.

This year though, is due to become much more interesting. Starting later this very month, comet Pan-STARRS will be visible at sunset near or around the sun. Pan-STARRS as of March 8th in North America. It should grow to be visible to the naked eye or about as bright as one of the Major Ursa components, Polaris for example.

Of course a clear view of the horizon will be necessary but the viewing will be possible for at least a week if not more.

Another interesting comet, to come much later this year (October) is called comet ISON. It’s predicted to shine brighter than the moon which would make it hard to miss even on an overcast night. It should also be quite visible in broad daylight.

So there you have it, take out your binoculars and whatever you do, don’t point them at the sun. Ever.

[Source] [Source]

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