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Comet: Pan-Starrs Visible In Northern Skies
Stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere are to get their first chance of seeing a new comet.
The C/2011 Pan-Starrs comet has been visible in the Southern Hemisphere since early February.
It was first spotted in June 2011 by the Pan-Starrs telescope in Hawaii, from which it gets its name.
A clear sky could provide a sighting tonight through a telescope or binoculars but it is likely to be at its brightest for northern skies stargazers as it moves towards the Sun on Sunday.
The comet's tail will be visible in a dark, evening sky and it should match the brightness of the North Star, Polaris, according to Astronomy Magazine.
And Nasa is excited: "Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the night-time sky," the US space agency explained.
"Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years."
When the Pan-Starrs was first seen as a faint spot in the sky, it had been hurtling towards the Sun for millions of years.
Astronomers believe the comet came from the Oort Cloud, where it first started as an icy mass.
The Oort Cloud is a part of space judged to be one light-year away from the Sun and, astronomers believe, the source of all comets.
The comets are icy because they come from the far reaches of the Solar System - the areas farthest away from the Sun.
Astronomers say that, if this particular sighting is missed, the Pan-Starrs comet may not be within our orbit for another 100,000 years.