31 Dec 2004

Tahiti astronomer has tips for viewing Christmas comet

2:10 pm on 31 December 2004

The chairman of Tahiti's astronomy club says the beginning of January is the best time to view a christmas comet that's brightening up night skies in the Pacific.

Jean-Paul Longchamp, says people in French Polynesia can now see the comet between the star constellations Orion and Pleiades.

He says what sets this comet apart, is not only its size but also its bright colour.

"There is many many comets you know, but this one is exception because it is rather illuminous. Usually we don't see the comet because they are too dark, not enough lightness."

Jean-Paul Longchamp says the comet was first spotted on a telescope by an American astronomer, Machholz, last August.

He says people will get the best view of the comet with the naked eye, during the first week of 2005.