Comet Making Closest Approach Ever Of Earth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Comet Making Closest Approach Ever Of Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A recently discovered comet is closer than it's ever been to Earth, and stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere finally get to see it.

Called Pan-STARRS, the comet passed within 100 million miles of Earth on Tuesday, its closest approach in its first-ever cruise through the inner solar system. The ice ball will get even nearer the sun this weekend — just 28 million miles from the sun and within the orbit of Mercury.

The comet has been visible for weeks from the Southern Hemisphere. Now the top half of the world gets a glimpse as well.

The best viewing days should be next Tuesday and Wednesday, when Pan-STARRS appears next to a crescent moon at dusk in the western sky. Until then, glare from the sun will obscure the comet.

California astronomer Tony Phillips said the comet's proximity to the moon will make it easier for novice sky watchers to find it. Binoculars likely will be needed for the best viewing, he said, warning onlookers to avoid pointing them at the setting sun.

"Wait until the sun is fully below the horizon to scan for the comet in the darkening twilight," Phillips advised in an email sent from his home and observatory in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Pan-STARRS' name is actually an acronym for the Hawaiian telescope used to spot it two years ago: the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System. The volcano-top telescope is on constant prowl for dangerous asteroids and comets that might be headed our way.

Thought to be billions of years old, the comet originated in the distant Oort cloud — a cloud of icy bodies well beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto — and somehow got propelled toward the inner solar system. It's never passed by Earth before, Phillips said.

A much brighter comet show, meanwhile, is on the way.

Comet ISON may come close to outshining the moon in November. It was discovered last September by Russian astronomers and got its acronym name from the International Scientific Optical Network.

Neither Pan-STARRS nor ISON pose a threat to Earth, according to scientists.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police: Video shows teens watching, laughing as man drowns

    Police: Video shows teens watching, laughing as man drowns

    Saturday, July 22 2017 2:48 PM EDT2017-07-22 18:48:32 GMT

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a group of teens watched and laughed as a man drowned in a retention pond last week. Jamel Dunn drowned in a retention pond in the city of Cocoa on July 9. Cocoa police say they later discovered a group of teens recorded the 31-year-old's drowning on video. The video was released by the state attorney's office Thursday and audio was published by Florida Today.

    >>

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a group of teens watched and laughed as a man drowned in a retention pond last week. Jamel Dunn drowned in a retention pond in the city of Cocoa on July 9. Cocoa police say they later discovered a group of teens recorded the 31-year-old's drowning on video. The video was released by the state attorney's office Thursday and audio was published by Florida Today.

    >>
  • Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Friday, July 21 2017 7:59 PM EDT2017-07-21 23:59:38 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>
  • Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Saturday, July 22 2017 7:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 23:50:23 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Friday, July 21 2017 5:38 PM EDT2017-07-21 21:38:23 GMT
    Mad Minute for 12/30/16Mad Minute for 12/30/16

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>
  • Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Friday, July 21 2017 11:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 03:50:00 GMT
    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism chargesFederal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>
  • White House threatens Iran over detained Americans

    White House threatens Iran over detained Americans

    Friday, July 21 2017 9:25 PM EDT2017-07-22 01:25:44 GMT
    Photo: NBCPhoto: NBC

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The White House is threatening "new and serious consequences" for Iran unless it releases all U.S. citizens who are detained there. The White House says President Donald Trump is prepared to act in an attempt to end Iran's practice of using detentions and hostage taking as state policy, but it provides no specifics about potential consequences. Trump is urging the return of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who 

    >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The White House is threatening "new and serious consequences" for Iran unless it releases all U.S. citizens who are detained there. The White House says President Donald Trump is prepared to act in an attempt to end Iran's practice of using detentions and hostage taking as state policy, but it provides no specifics about potential consequences. Trump is urging the return of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who 

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Trump asserts all agree he has 'complete power' to pardon

    Trump asserts all agree he has 'complete power' to pardon

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:46 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:46:35 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The subject of pardons is one of many topics that appears to have occupied the president's mind Saturday morning.

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The subject of pardons is one of many topics that appears to have occupied the president's mind Saturday morning.

    >>
  • Creators, cast of 'Stranger Things' debut season 2 trailer

    Creators, cast of 'Stranger Things' debut season 2 trailer

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:22 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:22:33 GMT

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - The creators of "Stranger Things" premiered a trailer for the show's second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn't seen it. The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears.

    >>

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - The creators of "Stranger Things" premiered a trailer for the show's second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn't seen it. The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears.

    >>
  • Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Saturday, July 22 2017 7:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 23:50:23 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>