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The & # 39; Christmas Comet & # 39; will be visible from Earth on Sunday



This comet image was taken on Dec. 2 by an iTelescope 50mm refractor at an observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico. (Photo: Alex Cherney, NASA)

MILWAUKEE (AP) – A comet named after a Wisconsin astronomer will soon be passing Earth, becoming the brightest comet of the year.

Comet 46P / Wirtanen will fly past Earth on Sunday, December 16, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It will be one of the closest comet airplanes since the 1950s, but will appear like a blurry, blurry, gray light.

"It will be very diffuse, a longish gray glow," said Jim Lattis, director of the University of Wisconsin Space Place, the UW-Madison Center for Astronomy. "You will see green colors, most of which are carbon, only when taking pictures or having a pretty good telescope."

The comet is named after Carl Wirtanen, who first discovered it in 1948 while weakening the movement, watch distant stars. Wirtanen was born in Kenosha in 1910 and was fascinated with astronomy when he was 12 years old. He studied astronomy, mathematics and physics at the University of Virginia before working at the Lick Observatory in California.

Comet Wirtanen revolves every five and a half years. The comet will be closest to Earth on Monday when it is about 7 million kilometers away.

"Another reason why he attracts so much attention is well positioned for us," said Lattis. "You can see it high up in the northern hemisphere in the early evening. This encourages many people to see it. "

The comet can be discovered by looking at the Taurus constellation. It will sit between two bright star clusters, the Pleiades and the Hyades.


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