Once again, astronomers wait with bated breath to see if a new comet will turn out to be a delight or a dud.
Comet Pan-STARRS reaches maximum brightness around the 9th-10th, but it may be easiest to find on the 12th, when a thin crescent moon can help. Look west about 45 minutes after sunset, using binoculars if necessary; the comet will be about four degrees, or eight full moon widths, left of the moon. Pan-STARRS moves northward each successive night, appearing below and slightly right of the moon on the 13th. It will quickly fade, so try to catch it if you can.
Saturn, a morning planet, begins the month by rising in the east around 11 p.m. It comes up two hours earlier by month’s end, but with the onset of Daylight Saving Time, that translates to 10 p.m. The bright star just to the west of Saturn is Spica, representing an ear of grain held by Virgo, the virgin. Saturn’s rings are nearly
19 degrees from horizontal, and it brightens steadily as Earth prepares to lap it in the orbital race.