Comet Pan-STARRS Infographic Defines Approach to Earth

 

The name comes from the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, Comet Pan-STARRS (also known as C/2011 L4) is considered to be a new comet, to us anyway, from the extant reaches of our solar system making, possibly, it initial  passes through the inner solar system. The Pan-STARRS comet will reach its periapsis ( its closest approach to the sun) on March 10, 2013. In March, the comet can be seen in the western sky around sunset in the northern hemisphere.Comet Pan-STARRS will reach its closest point to Earth on March 5, when it will be about 100 million miles away (161 million kilometers).The Earth’s solar system is encompassed by a massive cloud of icy substances which extend for a distance of  almost 1 light-year. This cloud of ice is the most probable source of long-period comets (comets with orbital periods of 200 years to millions of years).Comet Pan-STARRS is considered to have an orbital period equal or approximate to 110,000 years. Astronomers first noticed the comet in June 2011 with the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) telescope, in Hawaii. Finally, the comet can be observed very close to the horizon during its week of closest approach to the Earth and sun, and later in the month, the comet will be seen higher in the sky as it races away from the sun, growing dimmer with distance.
Find out about Comet Pan-STARRS, a fresh visitor from the icy Oort Cloud at the edge of the solar system, in this SPACE.com Infographic.
Source SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

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Comet Pan-STARRS Infographic Defines Approach to Earth — 7 Comments

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