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Comet to put on show for sky watchers

Staff writers
March 9, 2013 — Stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere are in for a treat as a newly discovered comet approaches close to Earth.

Where in the sky Pan-STARRS will be best scene (Courtesy NASA)
Where in the sky Pan-STARRS will be best scene (Courtesy NASA)

Known as Pan-STARRS, the comet has been visible for a couple of weeks in the Southern Hemisphere but now northerners will get their chance. 

The comet passed within 160 million kilometres of earth on Tuesday and will get even closer to the Sun this weekend, about 45 million kilometres.

With a clear sky and a pair of binoculars, it should be visible over the next few weeks.

Pan-STARRS was only discovered two years ago and is named after the telescope in Hawaii that first spotted it, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.

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. 

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