CLEVELAND - You can call it C/2011 L4. No, its not a character from a Star Wars movie. Its a comet. And we've got a great shot of viewing it this weekend.
Comet Pan-STARRS, as it is also known, will make its closest passage to the sun this weekend. About 28 million miles away on Sunday. That should help the comet's tail become bright enough to be visible to the naked eye Saturday evening through next Wednesday.
Scientists believe the best viewing in the Northern Hemisphere will be this weekend through March 13, as the comet slingshots past the sun. The best viewing time is right after sunset. The comet will be low in the western sky, about a hand's width up from the horizon.
The comet was discovered back in 2011 by scientists using the famed Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (or PANSTARRS) telescope. This monster space-viewing lens is located in Hawaii. The comet has been viewable across the Southern Hemisphere for many months. Now, its our turn.
Saturday night should be clear enough to look for the comet here in northern Ohio. Find a high spot with an unobstructed view and look west. Unfortunately, clouds and rain could spoil the view on Sunday night.
Even though Comet PANSTARRS' brightness will fade next week, it will still be visible by telescope or binoculars through the end of March into early April.
If you get any pictures of the comet, please post them on Instagram with the hashtag #Insta5News and we could share them on our newscasts! Enjoy.