A comet brightening Southern Hemisphere skies can be seen from WA for a few more days before it begins to set and becomes visible in the Northern Hemisphere.
Comet Pan-STARRS, named after the Hawaiian telescope it was discovered from in 2011, made its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, coming within about 160 million kilometres.
Like all comets, Pan-STARRS is a giant melting snowball of frozen gases, rock and dust that spews a tail of dust and gas as it approaches the Sun and heats up.
Astronomy Education Services director Richard Tonello, who photographed Pan-STARRS from Perth for NASA on Tuesday night, said it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it.
"It might return in about 200,000 plus years," he said.
Tonight and tomorrow are set to be the best nights to see Pan-STARRS before it starts to fade.
Mr Tonello said the comet could be seen in Perth just after sunset, usually about 7.30pm to 7.45pm, very low on the horizon in the west."If you get a pair of binoculars and you look out towards the west and you start scanning along that line, just a couple of degrees either side of west, you see a small smudge with a bit of a tail," he said.
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