February 26, 2013 in Space
Comet Pan-STARRS is nearly here. The sun grazing comet, coming all the way from the Oort Cloud, is expected to put on its potentially best display on the evening of March 12th or 13th. It should appear visible to the naked eye in the Western evening sky (as shown below), right next to the crescent moon. The comet is now predicted to end up ‘only’ as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper, though possibly with a tail visible to the naked eye. Because of how close the comet will be traveling to the Sun, the only time to see it will likely be during the twilight.
You may be able to faintly make out the comet as early as March 5th, once it nears the plant Mercury. Regardless of how bright Comet PANSTARRS ends up, in November Comet ISON is expected to greatly surpass it. Potentially becoming brighter than the Full Moon, and visible even in broad daylight.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere, Comet PANSTARRS is already visible with the naked eye. Though not very bright yet. You should be able to make it out, close to the horizon, before dawn and after sunset. You can find it currently moving through the constellation of Grus the Crane.