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Comet Pan-STARRS brightens up Canadian skies


Staff writers
March 15, 2013 — Conditions were favourable for Weather Network viewer Malcolm Park who captured a time lapse video of Comet Pan-STARRS in Cobourg, Ontario Thursday.


Comet Pan-STARRS over North Rustico (Jody Doucette)
Comet Pan-STARRS over North Rustico (Jody Doucette)

Comet Pan-STARRS has been brightening up Canadian skies over the last few days, giving sky watchers the chance to view the spectacle.

"Comet Pan-STARRS was first discovered almost two years ago by a Hawaiian telescope survey of asteroids," says astronomer Andrew Fazekas. "It first came up as a smugdy little dot on images, but now it's blossomed over a million fold in its brightness." 

With a clear sky and a pair of binoculars, it should continue to be visible over the next week or so.  

"It's easily visible with the naked eye looking towards the low western horizon about a half hour to an hour after local sunset," adds Fazekas. 

It's believed to be billions of years old and is believed to have originated in the Oort cloud, a collection of icy debris outside the solar system thought to be a light-year away.

Scientists don't believe the comet poses any risk to Earth. 

If you're able to capture a photo or video of the comet, be sure to upload to the online Weather Network gallery.

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