Weather Blog

Comet Pan-STARRS finally makes local appearance

Comet Pan-STARRS finally makes local appearance
Comet Pan-STARRS as seen from Shelton on March 18, 2013. (Photo: Steven Rosenow, Loowit Imaging)

It took a while to clear out the clouds, but much of the state was finally able to catch a glimpse of the Comet Pan-STARRS Monday evening.

Steven Rosenow of Loowit Imaging headed to his favorite spot along Mason Lake Road near Shelton, spotted the elusive comet and started taking pictures, including the one above.

Other photos came in from Tacoma and from the Eastern Washington town of Keller.

The weather window has closed again for a few days but there is hope for some clearing again toward the end of the week and early next week.

To find the comet, look in the western horizon about an hour to 75 minutes after sunset -- which would be around 8:30 p.m.-ish. It should be up and to the right of the spot where the sun actually set on the horizon. EarthSky.org has this handy chart to locate it.

It's hard to spot with the naked eye so binoculars would help.

We've already passed its peak viewing opportunities and the comet will fade a little more each day as it moves up the horizon. Also, the moon is in the general area and will be getting brighter as it's in its waxing phase (half moon as of Tuesday.)

But if you missed Pan-STARRS, don't forget, this is just our "practice" comet -- the big show with Comet ISON is still due for this autumn and predictions are it'll really dazzle, perhaps so bright it'll be visible in daylight.