Stargazers warned of eye damage risk with comet

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STARGAZERS are being warned they risk damaging their eyes by trying to view the rare spectacle of a bright comet as it flies near the sun this week.

The C/2011 L4, also known as Comet Pan-STARRS, is making a rare visit to the inner solar system and will not be back for 110,000 years.

However Kate Kay, the chief astronomer at the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth, Devon, said: “It’s going around the sun, and there is always a danger that if you try to look at it when it is near the sun, you are going to do some damage to your eyes.

“We’re hoping to get our first glimpses and photographs of it on Tuesday and Wednesday when it’s away from the sun, and near the new moon. 
If people look then for the moon, just to the right of 
it, they may see a little white smudge, hopefully with a nice tail.”