Here are a few resources for our Northern Hemisphere readers for locating Comet PanSTARRS this weekend and into next week. It’s going to be low on the western horizon shortly after sunset for the next few days.

* Sky and Telescope’s locator chart and’s writeup.

* SkyMaps printable full sky chart (download the March 2013 PDF)

* Stellarium is a good free planetarium software for Mac, PC and Linux. Here’s a discussion thread telling you how to find PanSTARRS.

* This is the best weather resource to figure out if it’s going to be cloudy in the next day or two.

This is one of the few times that living in the South is a good thing: PanSTARRS will be higher in the sky as you get closer to the Equator.

16 replies
  1. 1
    Cassidy says:

    OT, but still sciencey….can one of our FPer science persons do a post on the 3d printing of food? I’m interested in the topic but don’t really understand some of what I’ve read.

  2. 2
    Jerzy Russian says:

    It has been rainy in southern California. Sunday and Monday should be good times to try and catch a peek. Comet ISON looks like it will put on a good show, provided it survives its close passage by the Sun on November 28:

  3. 3
    Ramalama says:

    Speaking of Northern Hemisphere, I once woke up early to go to work and was terrified by the goings on in the sky. It looked like the spotlight in Montreal that greets all visitors who arrive by car or bus. But we were too far away from that. The lights had colors. They came from inside the sky poking out. I believed it was possible that they signalled the end of the world. I did nothing about it. I drove with my hands gripping the steering wheel until dawn came round and then I forgot about it. And later that weekend at a barbecue everyone was talking up the Aurora Borealis event. All of which confirms that I am deeply in touch with my inner idiot.

  4. 4
    Juju says:

    Wow. I’ll be out comet hunting this weekend. I can’t wait for the comet that is supposed to be here in November.

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    In addition to the light show, not freezing your ass off is another advantage to living down South.

    Kind of on topic: I know jack and shit about astronomy, but I’m finding this spate of asteroid close-shaves alarming. Maybe we could stop building war machines and put some money into more space telescopes and interceptor technology? Just a thought.

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    I loved living with Hyakutake. That thing was so bright for so long, but after just seeing the movie Melancholia I’m not sure I want to live with a bright new thing in the sky any more.

  7. 7
    mistermix says:

    @Betty Cracker: Don’t worry, they put $5 million American dollars into NASA’s asteroid search program after the last close call, so that problem is completely solved.

  8. 8
    Juju says:

    Hale-Bopp was the bright comet about 15 years ago. Hyakutake was visible just before Hale-Bopp, but harder to see. I had to get up at 4:00am drive to a plowed field and stand on my car to see it. All I had to do to see Hale-Bopp was to stand outside.

  9. 9
    Tim O says:

    Star Walk app for iPhone is great!

  10. 10
    Jerzy Russian says:


    All I had to do to see Hale-Bopp was to stand outside.

    I remember standing inside and seeing Hale-Bopp through the sliding door.

  11. 11
    Juju says:

    @Jerzy Russian: Darn. I wish I had tried that.

  12. 12
    Redshirt says:

    @Betty Cracker: I wrote about this after the Russian meteorite incident, which really should be a gigantic wake up call for us all.

    It is inevitable we’ll get hit by something major, and our entire species is at risk. Since we could do something about this if had the will, it seems incumbent upon us to do so.

    Also, I’m on Team ISON.

  13. 13
    G. Galilei says:

    Your Eminence,
    Thank you for the wonderful links. I shall be sure to use them (discretely, of course).

  14. 14
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @Juju: I had a long commute back then, and could watch Hale-Bopp all the way home, even in daylight.

  15. 15
    Trollhattan says:

    Photo forum thread with comet photos taken by an Aussie.

    It didn’t brighten up as much as was hoped, but there’s still something very compelling about seeing one. I remember a magical evening eating dinner in a restaurant courtyard with Hale-Bopp blazing in the evening sky.

    Need to figure out how to escape the city lights and haze to go watch this one.

  16. 16
    fuckwit says:

    Here comes the meteor?

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