The 'Christmas Comet' Is Coming to Town. Here's How to See It

Meteor shower and comet to light up seasonal skies

The year's brightest comet makes its closest approach to Earth this weekend, passing by one of the night sky's most attractive star clusters, the Pleiades, along the way. Although the comet known as 46P/Wirtanen will approach at a distant 11.4 million kilometres or 30 lunar distances from Earth, it's still a fairly rare opportunity.

That's because a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries, right on the heels of this year's most stunning meteor shower. The comet is now well up in the southern sky around 10 p.m., but may be seen in the southeastern sky earlier in the evening.

The night sky will come alive this weekend when a green comet streaks by Earth on the heels of the Geminid meteor shower's display of green fireballs.

It was the 10th closest and second brightest comet to Earth, but there was no chance of it hitting the planet, he said. To get the best view it is better to wait for the moon to set so the comet stands out against a dark background.

If you have clear skies, preferably away from big city lights, look toward the constellation Taurus, which is just west of Orion.

Not only do they occasionally grace our skies and put on a lovely display (I vividly remember as a child seeing Comet Khohoutek back in 1973), but they are also left-over remnants from the creation of the solar system - primordial chunks of dirt and ice left untouched and floating around in space for the past 4.6 billion years.

Ashley Graham Falls Down Stairs at Miss Universe Competition
She also walked down the runway. "I had to go on and perform, and it felt awful ". "I'm very excited to participate in Miss Universe ".

If you aren't able to view it, the Virtual Telescope Project will stream observations from its robotic telescopes. The Earth is about to get one of the closest visits from a comet in centuries.

"Wirtanen's comet could easily be chosen again for another mission", said Jim Lattis, director of the University of Wisconsin astronomy outreach center, UW Space Place. It was discovered photographically on January 17, 1948, by the American astronomer Carl A. Wirtanen.

For nonscientists, this lasting memorial to a Wisconsin comet hunter will simply be a fresh opportunity to look up - if the winter skies cooperate. That simply makes the comet much easier to find, if you are not accustomed to using a star chart.

Comet 46P was originally chosen by the European Space Agency to land the Rosetta probe on its surface, but launch delays caused a new target to be selected. That may sound really far, but it is among the 10 closest approaches by a comet in 70 years, NASA said.

"We're getting a look at stuff that was formed during the formation of the solar system and has been out in the deep freeze since then", Lattis said.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top North Korea warns U.S. over stalled nuclear negotiations
Dec 18, 2018 - 16:33
The North Korean government has warned that US sanctions against its officials could endanger denuclearization talks. Now, I'd love to take the sanctions off, but they have to be responsive too.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nigel Farage Reacts To Jeremy Corbyn's Motion Of No Confidence In PM
Dec 18, 2018 - 16:27
No 10 accused the Labour leader of a political "stunt", and said the Government would not allow parliamentary time for a vote. Mr Barclay said planning for a no-deal Brexit needs to be "much more of a priority for businesses up and down the country".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Paine relief: Australia win for first time since 'sandpapergate'
Dec 18, 2018 - 15:01
India skipper Virat Kohli was the major highlight of the match after his gutsy hundred in the first innings. However, Vihari added just four to his overnight score and fell to Mitchell Starc , who took 3-46, for 28.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jose Mourinho Fired: Who Will Be the New Manchester United Coach?
Dec 18, 2018 - 14:31
Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said on the club's social media: "This competition is getting hard". Salihamidzic said, quoted by UEFA.com: " Liverpool are the hottest team right now and top of the Premier League table".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Calls Michael Cohen a 'rat'
Dec 18, 2018 - 13:18
Trump previously denied pursuing any business ties to Russian Federation while he was a candidate, before recently claiming the talks were " very legal! ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Voice for Ottawa: Washington demands Beijing to release 2 detained Canadians
Dec 15, 2018 - 18:41
What, us politicize something like this? Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, has said she is innocent. President Donald Trump, who has said the case could be used as part of wider trade negotiations with Beijing.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns as Sri Lankan PM
Dec 15, 2018 - 18:16
Sirisena has repeatedly said he will not appoint Wickremesinghe "even if he has the backing of all 225 lawmakers in parliament". On Wednesday, parliament passed a vote of confidence in Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump inauguration spending reportedly under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors
Dec 15, 2018 - 18:05
AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co., according to Federal Election Commission filings. A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney's office declined to comment.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Virgin Galactic Reaches Space
Dec 15, 2018 - 16:34
At the start of the flight, a special plane carrying the VSS Unity climbed to almost 13,700 meters before releasing the spaceship. Two test pilots Mark "Forger" Stucky and former NASA astronaut Rick "CJ" Sturckow then hurtled the craft upward and out of sight.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 's ousted Prime Minister expects President to respect the SC ruling
Dec 15, 2018 - 16:32
While the south Asian country is gearing up for a new political wave, Wickremesinghe is not an unknown name in India. The court said Sirisena could not dissolve parliament before it had completed most of its five-year term.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to quit after World Cup
Dec 15, 2018 - 16:31
Philips Lighting Ireland named Joe Smith, Irish Rugby Coach as victor of the Philips Lighting Sports Manager of the Year for 2018. He was adamant that this time, the decision to retire was final, and said he was going to spend more time with his family.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trevor Ariza trade to Washington Wizards dead
Dec 15, 2018 - 14:54
With Memphis' strong desire to hold on to Dillon, they eventually pulled themselves out of the deal with the Wizards and Suns. The confusion caused by the reports was seemingly no more clear to the public than it was to the teams involved in the trade.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top HuffPost: Trump Considering Son-In-Law Kushner For Chief Of Staff Job
Dec 14, 2018 - 13:39
Meadows had been a contender for the role, after Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, dropped out of the running.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Macclenny hospital evacuated, bomb threats emailed across US
Dec 14, 2018 - 13:14
Numerous businesses receiving threats claim the emails demand money in bitcoins and included the subject line "Think Twice". He encouraged people to report anything suspicious to law enforcement and that "swatting incidents" would be investigated.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google's Top Searches of 2018
Dec 14, 2018 - 07:37
Meghan Markle was also the most searched for person of the year internationally, followed closely by Demi Lovato . The surprise here, however, is that Black Panther dethroned the unstoppable hype machine that was Infinity War.