Three-tailed Comet Q1 PanSTARRS Lights Up Southern Skies

Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS looks pretty against pink at dusk as seen from Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia on July 15. Q1 is quickly moving up from the western horizon and shows three separate tails. Credit: Michael Mattiazzo

Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS looks pretty against pink at dusk as seen from Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia on July 15. Q1 is quickly moving up from the western horizon and shows three separate tails. Credit: Michael Mattiazzo

Call it the comet that squeaked by most northern skywatchers. Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS barely made an appearance at dawn in mid-June when it crept a few degrees above the northeastern horizon at dawn. Only a few determined comet watchers spotted the creature.

Two weeks later in early July it slipped into the evening and brightened to magnitude +4. But decreasing elongation from the Sun and bright twilight made it virtually impossible to see. Now it’s returned — with three tails!(…)
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© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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