Comet 2011 L4, better known as PANSTARRS, is a true astrological rarity because it is visible to the naked eye—something that occurs only once every 5 to 10 years, according to NASA.
According to Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NASA’s NEOWISE mission, “There is a catch to viewing comet PANSTARRS … a relatively unobstructed view to the southwest at twilight and, of course, some good comet-watching weather.”
NASA says that PANSTARRS should still be visible through the end of the month for skywatchers in Gaithersburg, but it will be tougher to see (even with binoculars or most home telescopes) as March ends.
While this comet viewing opportunity is rare, Mainzer said on the NASA web site that comet ISON may become a “spectacular naked-eye comet later this fall.”
Have you seen PANSTARRS?
Share your photos, videos or stories with other Patch readers.