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, May 24th

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:00 AM EDT2017-05-25 06:00:11 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th.

    More >>
  • TSA tests screening larger electronic devices separately

    TSA tests screening larger electronic devices separately

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:55 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:55:23 GMT

    Travelers at some U.S. airports are being asked to place electronic devices bigger than a cellphone in separate bins so that they can be examined more closely. The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that it has been testing the procedure at 10 airports for more than a year, and it may be expanded nationwide. The TSA says the approach is designed to "de-clutter" carry-on bags to make it easier for screeners to examine...

    More >>

    Travelers at some U.S. airports are being asked to place electronic devices bigger than a cellphone in separate bins so that they can be examined more closely. The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that it has been testing the procedure at 10 airports for more than a year, and it may be expanded nationwide. The TSA says the approach is designed to "de-clutter" carry-on bags to make it easier for screeners to examine...

    More >>
  • Graco recalls 25,000 car seats because of potentially unsafe harness webbing

    Graco recalls 25,000 car seats because of potentially unsafe harness webbing

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:19 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:19:34 GMT
    Graco is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained. The recall involves eight different model numbers of the "My Ride 65" Graco car seat. The seats were made on July 22, 2014 and the code 2014/06 is on a tag that's on the harness webbing. According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), agency tests discovered the webbing strength problem. Graco ha...More >>
    Graco is recalling more than 25,000 car seats because the harness webbing can break in a crash and may not keep children restrained. The recall involves eight different model numbers of the "My Ride 65" Graco car seat. The seats were made on July 22, 2014 and the code 2014/06 is on a tag that's on the harness webbing. According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), agency tests discovered the webbing strength problem. Graco ha...More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Montana Republican congressional candidate cited for misdemeanor assault over incident with reporter

    Montana Republican congressional candidate cited for misdemeanor assault over incident with reporter

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:01 AM EDT2017-05-25 06:01:57 GMT

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputies report that following multiple interviews and an investigation by the sheriff's office, it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault. 

    More >>

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gallatin County Sheriff's Deputies report that following multiple interviews and an investigation by the sheriff's office, it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault. 

    More >>
  • Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:00 AM EDT2017-05-25 06:00:11 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, May 24th.

    More >>
  • Police: Denver man arrested for stabbing victim with bladed gloves

    Police: Denver man arrested for stabbing victim with bladed gloves

    Thursday, May 25 2017 1:47 AM EDT2017-05-25 05:47:03 GMT

    DENVER - A 36-year-old Denver man has been arrested after witnesses told police a man was stabbed following an argument early Tuesday morning. Witnesses told investigators the suspect, identified as Christian Gulzow, was wearing white "clown-like" makeup with black streaks and wearing gloves with blades on the end of each finger.

    More >>

    DENVER - A 36-year-old Denver man has been arrested after witnesses told police a man was stabbed following an argument early Tuesday morning. Witnesses told investigators the suspect, identified as Christian Gulzow, was wearing white "clown-like" makeup with black streaks and wearing gloves with blades on the end of each finger.

    More >>