Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 March 18
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Comet PANSTARRS Just After Sunset
Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Cook

Explanation: Have you seen the comet? As Comet PANSTARRS fades, careful observers -- even with unaided eyes -- should still be able to find the shedding ice ball on the western horizon just after sunset. Pictured above, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) was pointed out from a hilltop last week on First Encounter Beach in Massachusetts, USA. The comet was discovered by -- and is named for -- the Pan-STARRS astronomical sky survey that discovered it. As the comet now recedes from both the Earth and the Sun, it will remain visible further into the night, although binoculars or a small telescope will soon to be needed to find it.

Growing Gallery: Comet PanSTARRS at Sunset
Tomorrow's picture: yellow moon

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