Here is a movie of Comet PanSTARRS's motion from March 1-21, 2013 as seen from various vantage points in our solar system. This shows how the best view for observers in the United States will be March 8-20 but its closest approach to Earth is before that time block---on March 5th. The tic mark on Comet PanSTARRS's orbit is its perihelion point (closest point to the Sun) on March 10th. The half arrow (triangle) on the comet's orbit shows the comet's direction of travel. In all cases the comet's tail points directly away from the Sun (so a line drawn from the Sun to the comet in 3D space would go right along the tail). See below the movie for descriptions of the various views. See also my March 2nd Night Sky column for a star chart of how it will look from Bakersfield.
Updates of Comet PanSTARRS's status are posted at Sky and Telescope's Updates on Comet PanSTARRS page. You'll note that the images posted Feb 15th through 28th are from the southern hemisphere. That's because Comet PanSTARRS was well below the Earth's orbit plane during that time so we couldn't see it from Bakersfield (or anywhere in the United States).
last updated: February 28, 2013
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel