Comet visible in the sky - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Comet visible in the sky

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This March 2, 2013 photo made available by spaceweather.com shows the comet, Pan-STARRS, seen from Queenstown, New Zealand. (AP Photo/spaceweather.com, Minoru Yoneto) This March 2, 2013 photo made available by spaceweather.com shows the comet, Pan-STARRS, seen from Queenstown, New Zealand. (AP Photo/spaceweather.com, Minoru Yoneto)

 MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) -  "Comets, we have asteroids, we have meteors. Oh my!" Said Professor Don Wheeler.

Wheeler gave a lecture about Pan-STARRS, a comet that was discovered in June 2011 using the Pan-STARRS telescope located in Hawaii. The comet is visible tonight and for the rest of the week. Tonight, Tuesday, March 12, is probably your best chance to find it.

"If you're looking west and here's the crescent moon right here...you're going to be looking right about in this position here. So it'll be just to the left of the crescent moon." Said Wheeler.

Not much is known about the comet but don says you may want to see it now before it's too late.

"This one, we will never see again in our lifetime. It has a very elongated orbit. So I think its 100 million years is what scientists have calculated it's return." Said Wheeler.

Scientists says the comet likely came from the Oort cloud which is outside of our solar system past Pluto. Most comets are mainly made of ice and carbon dioxide.

"As they approach the sun, then the water ice and frozen carbon dioxide begin to sublimate." Said Wheeler.

The melting of the ice creates the tail of a comet. So don, the big question of the day, does this comet pose any threat to earth?

"Comets can hit the earth. They have in the past but this one's not it's way away." Said Wheeler.

So we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that in fact this comet is nearly 100 million miles away, further than the Sun and moving away from us. Don says you can see the comet with the naked eye buy if you want to get a better look, a simple pair of binoculars will do the trick.

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