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Comet 46P / Wirtanen: When and where to see the 2018 'Christmas Comet'



Comet 46P / Wirtanen, dubbed the "Christmas Comet" by many in the media and few in science, wants to make its closest approach to Earth on Sunday, December 16, and under the right circumstances, you might even be able to see

The comet's closest approach will be 7.1 million miles, 30 times the distance to the moon. Its visual magnitude wants to be somewhere between 3 and 4 – with 4 being less bright – and the dimmest stars are visible to the naked eye are 6, according to EarthSky.org.

Here are some tips on how to see it:

What do you think about it? The sky needs to be clear and artificial light wants to decrease your ability to see it. If there are any clouds in the evening of the 1

6th (as they are predicted to be in Massachusetts), plan for any clear night this week, whichever the comet might be silent to the naked eye.

The diffuse comet does not look like a solid point of light, further complicating the ability to see it. Deborah Byrd and Eddie Irizarry on EarthSky.org.

According to NASA, "At the time of closest approach," the problem is that the dim light is reflected from the comet's spread over a large cometary atmosphere. Taurus's close to the Pleiades. "

InThe-Sky.org has a very good guide to how to find Comet 46P / Wirtanen – click here to open it in a new tab

And if you've got binoculars or telescopes, use them.

Comet 46P / Wirtanen resources:

NASA: See a Passing Comet This Sunday ->

NASA: You Light Up Our Night ->

UMD.edu: How do I find Comet 46P / Wirtanen in the sky? [19659002] SkyandTelescope.com: Comet 46P / Wirtanen Approaches Earth

EarthSky.org: How to see 2018's brightest comet

Space .c om: Hubble Space Telescope Will Track Comet 46P / Wirtanen As It Flies Close by Earth


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