Comet Making Closest Approach Ever Of Earth - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Comet Making Closest Approach Ever Of Earth

Posted: Updated:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A recently discovered comet is closer than it's ever been to Earth, and stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere finally get to see it.

Called Pan-STARRS, the comet passed within 100 million miles of Earth on Tuesday, its closest approach in its first-ever cruise through the inner solar system. The ice ball will get even nearer the sun this weekend — just 28 million miles from the sun and within the orbit of Mercury.

The comet has been visible for weeks from the Southern Hemisphere. Now the top half of the world gets a glimpse as well.

The best viewing days should be next Tuesday and Wednesday, when Pan-STARRS appears next to a crescent moon at dusk in the western sky. Until then, glare from the sun will obscure the comet.

California astronomer Tony Phillips said the comet's proximity to the moon will make it easier for novice sky watchers to find it. Binoculars likely will be needed for the best viewing, he said, warning onlookers to avoid pointing them at the setting sun.

"Wait until the sun is fully below the horizon to scan for the comet in the darkening twilight," Phillips advised in an email sent from his home and observatory in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Pan-STARRS' name is actually an acronym for the Hawaiian telescope used to spot it two years ago: the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System. The volcano-top telescope is on constant prowl for dangerous asteroids and comets that might be headed our way.

Thought to be billions of years old, the comet originated in the distant Oort cloud — a cloud of icy bodies well beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto — and somehow got propelled toward the inner solar system. It's never passed by Earth before, Phillips said.

A much brighter comet show, meanwhile, is on the way.

Comet ISON may come close to outshining the moon in November. It was discovered last September by Russian astronomers and got its acronym name from the International Scientific Optical Network.

Neither Pan-STARRS nor ISON pose a threat to Earth, according to scientists.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd

    Thursday, November 23 2017 2:00 AM EST2017-11-23 07:00:14 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd.

    More >>
  • Commission alerted to review allegations against TripAdvisor

    Commission alerted to review allegations against TripAdvisor

    Thursday, November 23 2017 1:07 AM EST2017-11-23 06:07:07 GMT

    BOSTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission could take action against TripAdvisor after the Massachusetts-based travel company was accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes. Several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts but the online reviews that mentioned the crimes were taken down. The Boston Globe says after the report was published Democratic Wi...

    More >>

    BOSTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission could take action against TripAdvisor after the Massachusetts-based travel company was accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes. Several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts but the online reviews that mentioned the crimes were taken down. The Boston Globe says after the report was published Democratic Wi...

    More >>
  • The Latest: States investigate Uber over massive data breach

    The Latest: States investigate Uber over massive data breach

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:22 PM EST2017-11-23 02:22:07 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on the data breach at Uber (all times local):  6:30 p.m. More U.S. states say they're investigating Uber over the ride-hailing company's massive data breach.    Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, sent a letter Wednesday telling Uber to notify customers if their personal information might have been affected and demanding that the ride-hailing company make changes to protect data.    Massachusetts Attorney ...

    More >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on the data breach at Uber (all times local):  6:30 p.m. More U.S. states say they're investigating Uber over the ride-hailing company's massive data breach.    Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, sent a letter Wednesday telling Uber to notify customers if their personal information might have been affected and demanding that the ride-hailing company make changes to protect data.    Massachusetts Attorney ...

    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Homicide investigation underway in Newman Lake after woman's death

    Homicide investigation underway in Newman Lake after woman's death

    Friday, November 24 2017 7:20 PM EST2017-11-25 00:20:33 GMT

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Major Crimes Detectives are investigating the death of a woman in Newman Lake as a homicide.  Friday morning, deputies were called to a home to assist fire personnel already on scene. Firefighters reported the woman in her 30's was having an unknown medical problem. Despite life-saving efforts, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

    More >>

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Major Crimes Detectives are investigating the death of a woman in Newman Lake as a homicide.  Friday morning, deputies were called to a home to assist fire personnel already on scene. Firefighters reported the woman in her 30's was having an unknown medical problem. Despite life-saving efforts, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

    More >>
  • Tiger escapes from zoo, roams streets of Paris

    Tiger escapes from zoo, roams streets of Paris

    Friday, November 24 2017 6:40 PM EST2017-11-24 23:40:07 GMT

    PARIS (AP) - Police in Paris say a tiger escaped from a circus in the city and roamed the streets of the French capital for "some time" before being killed.    Police said that the big cat was "neutralized" by a staff member from the circus near a bridge over the River Seine, about two kilometers (1.24 miles) from the Eiffel Tower.    Police authorities tweeted "all danger is over" alongside a tiger emoticon.

    More >>

    PARIS (AP) - Police in Paris say a tiger escaped from a circus in the city and roamed the streets of the French capital for "some time" before being killed.    Police said that the big cat was "neutralized" by a staff member from the circus near a bridge over the River Seine, about two kilometers (1.24 miles) from the Eiffel Tower.    Police authorities tweeted "all danger is over" alongside a tiger emoticon.

    More >>
  • OK Go use hundreds of printers to create animated backgrounds in latest viral music video

    OK Go use hundreds of printers to create animated backgrounds in latest viral music video

    Friday, November 24 2017 6:29 PM EST2017-11-24 23:29:08 GMT

    It's hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years since rock band OK Go went viral with their music video for "Here It Goes Again," which featured a treadmill dance routine and garnered millions of views on YouTube, when YouTube was still in its infancy. Since then the band has carved out a niche for themselves by making incredibly intricate and mind-boggling music videos.

    More >>

    It's hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years since rock band OK Go went viral with their music video for "Here It Goes Again," which featured a treadmill dance routine and garnered millions of views on YouTube, when YouTube was still in its infancy. Since then the band has carved out a niche for themselves by making incredibly intricate and mind-boggling music videos.

    More >>