Remarkable time-lapse video captures comet PanSTARRS racing the moon across evening skies of Georgia
Comet Pan-STARRS dazzled stargazers while streaking across the skies of North America and Europe on Tuesday with a newly released time-lapse video capturing its flight.
The video captures the white comet gently soaring alongside the moon at a similarly leisurely pace as they both drop into the horizon over Atlanta, Georgia.
PanSTARRS was the talk of the world this week with stargazers in the northern hemisphere having finally had their chance to view the first of two comets set to blaze through the skies in 2013.
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Sight to see: Seen in a newly released time-lapse video comet PanSTARRS is seen making its trek across the skies of Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday night, while seen slowly falling just left of the moon
Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS, already visible for weeks from the Southern Hemisphere, appeared to observers above the equator for the first time this week.
The newly released video is coupled with other amazing images showing the comet blazing a trail above Southern California and Las Vegas, and as far away as Australia as it continued its long trek north as seen from Earth.
On Tuesday, MailOnline published pictures of the comet blazing a trail through the skies over Las Vegas and southern California and, in coming weeks, observers at ever higher latitudes will have a chance to see it.
Once a mere 93million miles away, it is now heading away from our solar system and is not expected to return for another 100,000 years.
The comet PanSTARRS, above and to the right, passes over the Stratosphere Casino Hotel, Las Vegas: Observers in southern U.S. states have already been able to see it for several days
Fiery tail: The PAN-STARRS comet is visible Wednesday in the Flint Hills of south western Lyon County Kansas
Comet's path: This NASA graphic shows the course of the PanSTARRS comet
Sin City light show: The comet is seen at top left in the skies above Las Vegas
Front row seat: Chuck Bueter, of Granger, Indiana, searches the sky for a sign of the Pan-STARRS comet at Weko Beach, in Bridgman, Michigan
Fire in the sky: Astrophotographer Charles Medendorp took this photo of PanSTARRS and the crescent moon taken from the base of the Sandia mountains overlooking Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 12
Travelling north: PanSTARRS seen from Los Angeles next to the waxing crescent moon off the western coast of southern California
However, it will be visible in the northern hemisphere for the next few weeks, just after sunset in the west.
PanSTARRS' name is 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. - and in recent months there have been several.
Like other comets of its type, PanSTARRS is thought to have originated in the Oort Cloud, a vast region containing millions of comets located more than two light years from the Sun.
PanSTARRS travelled in towards the inner Solar system for millions of years, dormant for most of this time as a small nucleus made up of rock and ice.
When comets approach the Sun, these ices heat up, eventually turning to gases that jet out into space together with dusty material to form a head or coma around the cometary nucleus.
Particles from the Sun (the so-called solar wind) blow the gases back in a straight tail, whilst sunlight exerts a pressure on the dust particles to create a curved tail.
Visible: PanSTARRS travelled in towards the inner solar system for millions of years, dormant for most of this time as a small nucleus made up of rock and ice
Nightlight: PanSTARRS was visible to observers in the southern hemisphere for some weeks, but appeared in northern skies for the first time in the past few days, and was visible in places like Westminster, Maryland
VIDEO Comet seen over North Queensferry, Scotland
VIDEO Comet seen recorded in time-lapse video
VIDEO PanSTARRS passes between Earth and Mercury
Comet PanSTARRS is the first of two comets which will appear in the night sky this year in the UK.
Later this year, in November and December, Comet ISON is expected to be one of the brightest comets ever seen and experts believe it will be brighter than the moon in the night sky.
And next year astronomers are anticipating potential cosmic fireworks after they identified a comet hurtling into our solar system that could hit Mars with potentially catastrophic force.
According to current calculations, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is set for a near miss that will bring it within 23,000 miles of the surface of the Red Planet.
But the unpredictable nature of comet orbits, which can change as jet-like geysers of steam erupt from their surfaces as they near the Sun, means it could pass further away, or veer into a direct collision course.
It's here! Comet C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS is seen in almost clear skies over the coast of Cumbria last night
Just dropping by: Currently a mere 93million miles away, the comet is now heading away from our solar system and is not expect to return for another 100,000 years
PanSTARRS is pictured in the sky above St Bridget's Church, Lowca, Cumbria: Photographer Paul Kingston said he has been looking forward to seeing the comet in our skies for months
Spot the comet: To find it in UK skies, stargazers will need a clear sky, ideally be away from the lights of towns and cities and have a good western horizon, according to the Royal Astronomical Society
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