Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) was discovered in June 2011, and will be visible to the naked eye..in the Western horizon, just after sunset (only to people of the northern hemisphere). It is not that bright, and will be quite low to the horizon, so an unobstructed view of the western horizon, and a clear night sky is going to be essential. Too early, and there will be too much sky light, and too late and the comet will be below horizon. So catching it is going to be tricky, says NASA.
“Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the nighttime sky. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year..” says NASA , which includes the Comet ISON that will be visible later in the year (October to late December 2013), and of course this one!
This comet 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) bears the name of the telescopic survey that discovered it — “Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System” (The survey is based atop the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii).
Observing comet PANSTARRS
NASA advises, “By March 8, comet PANSTARRS may be viewable for those with a totally unobstructed view of the western horizon for about 15 minutes after twilight. On March 10, it will make its closest approach to the sun about 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) away. As it continues its nightly trek across the sky, the comet may get lost in the sun’s glare but should return and be visible to the naked eye by March 12. As time marches on in the month of March, the comet will begin to fade away slowly, becoming difficult to view (even with binoculars or small telescopes) by month’s end. The comet will appear as a bright point of light with its diffuse tail pointing nearly straight up from the horizon like an exclamation point”
Looking at the fact that the Comet Panstarrs is going to be visible near the moon on 12t March tells me that it’s in the area close to the start sign of Aries! And even by 24th March, it’s visible close to the Sun’s position, that is still in the sign of Aries, as by then Sun will have moved to Aries! (Comets are on a long orbit around the Sun, just like planets.. and as they swing past the Sun… that’s when we see them at their brightest and with the longest `tail’, as the heat of the Sun melts contents which spew out as a gas tail that glows!)
The Comet ISON visible by late October, November, December will be mainly visible in the sign of Sagitarrius, but this one is a messenger for Aries.
The New Pope & Shivarathri connections
Interestingly, the new Pope will be elected around about the 12th March..just as this comet Panstarrs is visible and close to the Sun. And comet ISON will be closer to Earth by the 26h December (close to Christmas!).
Shivarathri (Night of Shiva) happens to be on Sunday 10th, just on the eve of the new Moon.. and of course it is all about the infinite Flames of Hindu God Shiva – the Cosmic Dancer. The comet could be said to be a symbol of that cosmic flame!
Make what you will of all that! Am sure the Christians and Hindus will be inspired by these synchronous events . 🙂