Science

The Famous "Christmas Comet" Will Fly Through Skies Above Canada This Weekend

The Famous

For more information about how to see the comet, watch the video below.

"It will be at its closest distance to Earth in over four centuries", the space body confirmed. However, it is in the sweet spot to make it appear to be brighter than most comets.

There is a zero per cent chance of the comet hitting Earth, according to astronomers at the University of Maryland, though it could remain visible in the night sky for several weeks after its December 16 peak.

NASA says on Sunday, December 16, it'll be seven million miles from Earth - the closest its orbit can possibly get to our planet.

Astronomy Ireland has confirmed that Comet Wirtanen will fly nearer to Earth than at any other point during our lifetime. First discovered in 1948 by American astronomer Carl Wirtanen at the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, 46P/Wirtanen is about to make its brightest, closest approach for the next 20 years.

Some have theorised that said star could have, in fact, been a comet.

The key to finding 46P/Wirtanen on the night of December 16 from the northern hemisphere is to locate the constellation of Orion in the southeastern sky.

Usually, 46P/Wirtanen is too far away for us to see, so this is a real treat - the comet's closest approach in 70 years. The paper states that it will be brightest in the sky on December 12th. Instead, it will probably look more like a fuzzy ball of light, which could prove very hard to see in a light-polluted sky. "It'd be really great if you could see it with your naked eye, but I don't want anybody to have to get huge binoculars, any binoculars will help", said Peche.

Anyone hoping to observe a comet from the ground should try and use a decent pair of binoculars.

It's been visible for a few days from a telescope or with good binoculars, and will remain in view for another week or so - but tonight is the best chance for those of us who don't have any special viewing equipment.

"We've dubbed Comet Wirtanen "the Christmas Comet of 2018" for this reason", he said.



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