The first of two big comet viewing opportunities for 2013 is underway. And here in our neck of the woods...our best opportunity to see the first event will come tonight.
Comet Pan-Starrs, while not the biggest/best as far as visible comets go, will be visible tonight right after sunset.
It can be seen with the naked eye...even from cities...but your best opportunity to really see the finer details will be with binoculars or a telescope in a darker area away from city lights.
Here is how to locate the comet tonight on the western horizon.
Sunset is at 7:39pm this evening. Get outside around 7:30 and watch for the point on the horizon where the sun hits as it sets.
The comet should appear as the light begins to really fade away right above that point on the horizon. (about 30 to 40 minutes after the sun disappears).
It will be just above the horizon...so you won't have to look too far up into the sky to see it.
As an added bonus...the moon will provide a helping hand. The center of the lighted portion of the crescent moon will point toward the place on the horizon where you'll find the comet. So if you miss the sun's setting point...you can use that as a guide.
As far as comets go...Pan-Starrs is just a warmup!
Later this fall, (in late November), Comet ISON will appear...and it may be one of the most spectacular comets most of us will see in our lifetimes!
Stargazers! Ready your scopes and cameras!