Though many comet enthusiasts were disappointed when Comet ISON was disintegrated by the sun, Comet Lovejoy continues soaring through northeastern, pre-dawn skies and Mississippi State is hosting a public viewing.
On Thursday at 5:20 a.m. in the Rose Garden parking lot at North Farm, the university's physics and astronomy department is sponsoring the viewing, free and open to all.
"Note the start time -- 5:20 a.m. till sunrise," said Angelle Tanner, MSU assistant professor of physics and astronomy. "The comet will not be visible for that long, so come at 5:20 sharp or soon after."
Multiple binoculars will be available, and the department will set up one telescope, Tanner said. She advised comet viewers to dress warmly. When they reach the lot, participants should park and turn off their headlights as soon as possible so other viewers are not disturbed.
From Highway 182, viewers should turn at the entrance to the R. R. Foil Plant Science Research Facility between the university's Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park and the Mississippi Highway Patrol office. The garden lot is the first parking area on the right.
For more information about the comet viewing, contact Tanner at 662-325-4112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.