Comet in sight
of isles tonight

If skies are clear, islanders will have a good view of Comet Machholz as it passes south of the Pleiades star cluster tonight.

"It is a beautiful sight with a pair of binoculars" but is also visible without them, said Carolyn Kaichi, Bishop Museum Planetarium manager.

The Pleiades cluster, also known as the "Seven Sisters," rises before sunset, so the Comet Machholz should be visible for most of the night, she said. The darker the viewing area, the more likely the comet can be spotted just with the eyes, Kaichi added. The Pleiades can be spotted above the Orion and Taurus constellations.

"The comet will appear as a small fuzzy star to the eye, and it will be easier to locate it with binoculars first," she said.

Another celestial event is coming up Monday, when the moon will be the closest to Earth in its orbit since 1993, Kaichi said. It will not be as close again for three years.

The closest point this month -- roughly 222,184 miles -- coincides with the new moon, which means tides will be higher than usual, she said.

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