Friday, March 8, 2013

Look West

david crook has put up a terrific post all about the comet Panstarrs.  david's website stellar insights often has great astronomical posts along with insightful astrology articles.   


Where to Find Comet PanSTARRS

Look west after sunset near the horizon. Binoculars may be needed to pick Comet PanSTARRS out of the bright sky. Look too early and the sky will be too bright; too late and the comet will be too low.
From Images 108
This diagram is drawn for a viewer near 40° north latitude (Denver, New York, Madrid) 30 minutes after sunset. If you're south of there, the comet will be a little higher above your horizon early in the month than shown here. North of 40°, it will be a little lower early in March than shown here

Swinging toward its March 10th closest approach to Sun, Comet PanSTARRS emerges above the western sunset horizon this week for observers at mid-northern latitudes. Bring binoculars or a wide-field telescope; it's unlikely to be brighter than about 2nd magnitude, not necessarily easy to spot low in twilight through thick air.

The farther south you are, the earlier the date when you may first pick it up. As of February 28th it was already being seen naked eye (faintly) from the Southern Hemisphere. Next week the comet should come into its best visibility for mid-northern latitudes.
[Sky & Telescope]


This short video mentions that comet ISON and Siding are both passing near the red planet Mars.
3MIN News March 7, 2013: ISON/Siding Spring, Climate, Spaceweather


--More evidence that comets could have seeded life on Earth

"A new experiment simulating conditions in deep space reveals that the complex building blocks of life could have been created on icy interplanetary dust and then carried to Earth, jump-starting life.

It’s among the most ancient of questions: What are the origins of life on Earth?

Chemists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, showed that conditions in space are capable of creating complex dipeptides – linked pairs of amino acids – that are essential building blocks shared by all living things. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that these molecules were brought to Earth aboard a comet or possibly meteorites, catalyzing the formation of proteins (polypeptides), enzymes and even more complex molecules, such as sugars, that are necessary for life."
Read More-> EarthSky

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