December 5, 2018 Science 0 Views
Home / Science / Comet 46P / Wirtanen will zoom over the night sky next week
Comet 46P / Wirtanen will zoom over the night sky next week Breaking News Home / Science / Comet 46P…
Skywatchers will receive special treatment next week, as the lightest comet of the year flies over the night sky.
Although the comet has the rather uninspiring name “46P / Wirtanen”, it will be among the 10 closest comets approaching the earth since 1950 and the 20th closest approach for a comet dating back to the ninth century, according to Sky & Telescope.
Wirtan’s closest sunrise will be Wednesday, December 12, and its closest approach to the ground will be Sunday, December 16, EarthSky said. On that day, the comet will be “only” 7.1 million miles from the earth, which is quite close to cosmic terms. (The sun is, for example, about 93 million miles from there.)
The comet should be visible to the naked eye, but the best views will probably be through binoculars and small telescopes, especially away from city lights. “Be sure to look for the dark sky in your quest for Comet 46P Wirtanen,” says David Dickenson of Universe Today.
An inconvenience will be brightness from ever more full moon next week.
The comet and its coma (the fuzzy-appearance area around the comet) will be quite large – two to three times the moon’s diameter, reported Sky & Telescope.
“Remember, you are not looking for a sharp star-like object, but rather something that spreads its light over a relatively large area,” said Sky & Telescope Joe Rao.
According to the universe today, the American astronomer traced Carl Wirtanen first comed the night on January 17, 1948, while under investigation raised the sky from the Lick Observatory in California. Since he discovered it, the comet is named.
An additional piece of good news: There is no chance that the comet hits the earth, reported the University of Maryland’s astronomical department.
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