Comet PanSTARRS viewing

Tonight is the beginning of a nice stretch of viewing opportunities for the Carolinas to see comet PanSTARSS. You will need a good clear view of the western horizon about 30-45 minutes after sunset. It will only be visible for about 15 mins so prepare your spot ahead of time.

Binoculars or a telescope will help but you will be able to see it with the naked eye if you know where to look.

Sunset Times the next few days:

3-12-2013 11-40-53 AM

Where to look:



The comet will only be about 10-20° above the horizon and tonight very close to  the thin crescent moon. It’s going to be faint and while you can see it with the naked eye it will take time to focus on it. It’s going to look about as bright as a fuzzy star. So find it quickly then let your eyes adjust. There will still be some twilight since it’s so close to sunset still so remember this.

Help gauging the distance above the horizon:

Use a closed fist held at arm’s length from your body to gauge the distance above the horizon.



  • Tonight: Clearing skies but watch for some mountain clouds remember this will be close to the horizon. So it may be clear where you are but clouds many miles away near the horizon may obstruct the view.
  • Wednesday: Perfect no issues
  • Thursday: evening clouds might be an issue
  • Friday: Partly cloudy not looking too good right now