Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS at Perihelion

Today Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS) will pass through perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun. Take a good look now, given the 110,000 year orbital period, the comet will not be back anytime soon.

The comet should be visible as a 1st magnitude object 13° above the horizon at sunset and directly above the glow of the setting Sun. It will climb higher each evening after passing through perihelion. It will begin to fade as well, most likely dimming below 4th magnitude by the end of March.

Comet 2011 L4 Perihelion
C/2011 L4 ( PanSTARRS ) positions in the sunset as it passes through perihelion, chart for March 10th, 2013

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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