A Gigantic Comet Is Heading Our Way and Will Arrive Just Before Christmas - Physics-Astronomy.org

A Gigantic Comet Is Heading Our Way and Will Arrive Just Before Christmas



Now our Christmas is set to be lit up by the arrival of a huge comet – although wise men (or women) aren’t exactly in huge supply in these troubled times. We can’t tell you whether Comet 46P/ Wirtanen is an omen, but we can reassure you that it’s not a harbinger of the apocalypse.
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The gigantic object is more than 1km wide but will definitely not hit Planet Earth. It will zoom by at a distance of seven million miles on December 17, but will still be visible in the skies for several days afterwards. However, anyone hoping to load on gold, frankincense and myrrh before heading out to follow the comet and find their saviour should probably just ask Waze for directions instead.  Astronomer Joseph Rao said it would be possible to see it, but the comet will be very difficult to spot.
‘From locations that are plagued by light pollution, I bet that sighting this comet is going to prove to be a difficult to near-impossible task,’ he wrote. ‘And even for those who are blessed with dark and starry skies, finding the comet could prove to be a bit of a challenge.’
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He added:
‘In fact, under a completely dark sky, free of light pollution, perhaps the best instruments for locating the comet will be your own two eyes. ‘Most who ultimately locate it in their binoculars or telescopes will, I believe, typically describe it as a nearly circular cloud, comparable to or rivalling the Moon in angular size and appearing a bit brighter and more condensed near the centre.’
The Virtual Telescope will be running two viewing sessions on December 12 and 16, meaning you can log onto its website to take a good look at the Christmas comet from the comfort of your own home

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