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Comet visible in Irish skies tonight

Comet PANSTARRS will be seen next to the Andromeda Galaxy in the northwest.
Apr 5th 2013, 6:29 PM 24,871 24

ASTRONOMY IRELAND HAS urged people to look to the sky tonight to look out for the Comet PANSTARRS, which will be visible in the evening sky today.

The comet is placed right next to the Andromeda Galaxy in the northwest, which is the furthest object visible to the naked eye. The comet will be visible all night and if you use the galaxy as a signpost you will see that PANSTARRS is even brighter than the famous galaxy.

Speaking to today, David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, said he was “hoping it would be a bit brighter but people will still be able to see it faintly with the naked eye if they are away from streetlights”.

“It’s physically very big but it’s far away so you can faintly see it if you know where the galaxy is and if you have binoculars you can go scanning the horizon for it and you’ll see it more clearly that way,” he said. “This is a beautiful comet that I have seen several times in recent weeks and I have even managed to get some photographs of it”.

(Image: David Moore/Astronomy Ireland)

The comet can be seen in the lower part of the picture above, one of the two yellow dots in the sky. The yellow spot in the top left of the image is the galaxy, and the two will be seen closer together tonight.

“I think everyone should go outside over the weekend and try to spot Comet PANSTARRS for themselves, as spotting comets can be a rare experience,” Moore added.

Comet PANSTARRS will remain close to the Andromeda Galaxy for several days, and Astronomy Ireland is requesting that people send in their observation reports to for inclusion in an upcoming issue of the monthly Astronomy Ireland magazine.

Photographs taken by Moore over the last few weeks can be seen here.

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Michelle Hennessy


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