2013 could very well be the year of the comet as several of these potentially spectacular visitors will be visiting Earth's skies this year. Despite being pushed to the back burner by potentially brighter than the Full Moon Comet ISON (due in November), another, PANSTARRS (Lemmon is the third), is putting on quite a show right now.
According to space.com, PANSTARRS, while just within naked eye visibility, is rapidly brightening as it has now crossed inside the orbit of Venus as it moves toward the Sun. Over the past week, PANSTARRS has brightened considerably and, most spectacularly, grown a tail (albeit only in long-exposure photographs).
Still, though, with close approach to the Sun less than a week away, this portends good news for people hoping to get a view of a spectacular comet, which some predict could reach magnitude 1, easily within range of naked eye visibility. .
The bad news: comets are famously hard to predict. The good news: for once, this will be a Northern Hemisphere comet!
In the end, thought, the only way we'll be able to know what Comet PANSTARRS will do is to wait and watch.
As the last part of the puzzle, be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock if you plan to head out and look at the stars this coming week. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you.
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Bodzash Photography & Astronomy