It’s comet hunting time, and your astronomy target is Comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS.
When to look: From shortly after midnight in the morning of January 1, getting steadily later as the weeks progress until the beginning of April.
Where: South-East, just above the horizon.
C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS is a small rocky comet, and it’s visible in the West Australian skies with a telescope! It’s predicted to reach peak brightness on March 1, and pass closest to the Earth on March 14.
Some toolsto help you locate Comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS include the SkySafari app.
Use the search function on SkySafari AR to search for ‘Comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS’ Press “centre” and the app will show you where the comet is from night to night. Use the stars around the Comet as a guide to try and find it.
Something interesting: The comet C/2021 S3/PanSTARRS is named after the Institute for Astronomy’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), which is searching the night sky for Near-Earth Objects.
The Pan-STARRS team was also responsible for discovering the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua!
See more of the night
There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky. Visit an astrotourism town in country WA and see for yourself.