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Comet Pan-Starrs: Amazing Pictures As Comet Lights Up Northern Skies (PHOTOS)

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PANSTARRS
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The UK could be in for a dramatic light show this weekend - if the skies are clear enough.

The Comet Pan-Starrs, which has spend this week lighting up the Southern Hemisphere, has just become viewable in the northern sky.

The comet - properly known as C/2011 L4 - will be viewable by the naked eye in the north, peaking on March 12 or 13.

It will climb higher in the sky throughout the month, according to the Paris Observatory.

Named after the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System telescope in Hawaii where it was discovered a billion kilometres away, the comet is now just 45 million kilometres from Earth.

As it passes closer to the sun the ice, gas and dust inside the comet combusts, producing the long, luminous tail which distinguishes comets from asteroids.

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The comet might not return for another 100,000 years.

As bright as it is, the Pan-Starrs comet is really just a warm up for another visitor which could be even more dramatic. The Comet 'ISON' is set to pass between the Earth and Sun in the autumn and astronomers currently think it might shine brighter than the moon - and be visible during the day.

To find Pan-Starrs over the next few days, look for the moon and search left and slightly down. Using binoculars you should be able to see the head and tail of the comet.

The BBC has more details on how to see the comet.