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How do you see the Green Christmas Chamber this week :: WRAL.com

By Tony Rice, the WRAL Contributor / NASA Ambassador Comet 46P / Wirtanen made its closest approach to Earth on Sunday evening, 30 times longer than the moon, closest to the comet since the 1950s. Dubbat "The Christmas Comet" because of its green glow, maybe you can get a glimpse this week. Your best chance to see 46P / Wirtanen is once the moon sets around 1 o'clock local time. Find the three stars in the Orions belt, and then on the right, find the orange star Aldebaran, Taurus eye bull. On Monday, the comet was about 12 degrees to the right, or about the width of your extended fist. It will be another 3 degrees up and on the right Tuesday and every night of the week. 46P / Wirtanen does not have a pronounced blue tail as many comets do. This tells us that there is not much dry ice (solid CO2) as emissions. It has a diffuse coma, or an envelope with gas and dust expelled as the comet warms up as it approaches the sun, giving it a fuzzy stain of an appearance. The crystalline green color of the 46P / Wirtan comes from diatomic carbon (a pair of carbon atoms bonded together) and cyanide which gives a few nitrogen atoms to the mixture. Our eyes are most sensitive to green light, but that does not mean that the comet is easy to see. The brilliant green images you may have seen were photographed with long…

Comet 46P / Wirtanen made its closest approach to Earth on Sunday evening, 30 times longer than the moon, closest to the comet since the 1950s. Dubbat “The Christmas Comet” because of its green glow, maybe you can get a glimpse this week.

Your best chance to see 46P / Wirtanen is once the moon sets around 1 o’clock local time. Find the three stars in the Orions belt, and then on the right, find the orange star Aldebaran, Taurus eye bull. On Monday, the comet was about 12 degrees to the right, or about the width of your extended fist. It will be another 3 degrees up and on the right Tuesday and every night of the week.

46P / Wirtanen does not have a pronounced blue tail as many comets do. This tells us that there is not much dry ice (solid CO2) as emissions. It has a diffuse coma, or an envelope with gas and dust expelled as the comet warms up as it approaches the sun, giving it a fuzzy stain of an appearance.

The crystalline green color of the 46P / Wirtan comes from diatomic carbon (a pair of carbon atoms bonded together) and cyanide which gives a few nitrogen atoms to the mixture. Our eyes are most sensitive to green light, but that does not mean that the comet is easy to see.

The brilliant green images you may have seen were photographed with long exposures and / or by combining multiple images.

 46P / Wirtanen

The comets are surrounded by a coma or envelope of gas and dust formed as ice is boiling away. When the comets come closer to the sun, they warm up and it will spread over a larger area of ​​the sky, making them less of a bright spot and much more diffuse. It’s like watching upcoming headlines on a clear night against a fog.

A pair of binoculars help bring in more light so the image becomes easier to make the comet visible to observers in rural areas and suburbs. This is not something you’re likely to discover from the center.

See the latest online maps on the web .


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