Massive Comet Set To Arrive Before Christmas Will be Visible to the Naked Eye

No, it won't be the end of the world.

There’s a massive comet heading our way. But don’t worry, it won’t impact Earth, it will just put on a fascinating show in the night sky.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is already close enough to be seen with a telescope but NASA explains that the comet, which is set to make its closest approach to Earth in the next week will cast a green glow in the sky, stretching as wide as Jupiter.

Luckily for us, it will be visible to the naked eye, if of course, you are lucky enough and have clear skies.

Comet 46P/Wirtanen follows a 5.4-year orbit and is one of the few comets that can be observed with binoculars and telescopes. The comet will make its closest approach to earth on December 16, when it will become visible above the eastern horizon.

Last month, NASA published a stunning image of the comet glowing brightly in the sky, making its way toward the sun and our plant. The image was published as part of NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)

As noted by EarthSky, 46P/Wirtanen will approach the sun at its closest point on December 12, 2018, after which it will speed past Earth a few days later.

“From dark sky sites, it could just become naked-eye visible though, as its 5.4 year-long looping orbit takes it closest to Earth and the sun in mid-December,” the agency wrote about the image captured by Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN).

“Fluorescing in sunlight, its spherical coma is about half the angular size of a full moon in this southern hemisphere telescopic view from November 7.”

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