Christmas comet and falling stars illuminate the sky



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"The green color is coming from the gas coming out of the comet," he said.

"There's a lot of ice on it and methane – it's essentially like a dirty snowball, and when it passes around the sun, it melts … and it's a smelly stinking green glow."

Hours later, falling stars begin to glow in the sky as the Earth passes through the 3200 Phaethon asteroid's tail.

They will look impressive from the ground, but the shooting stars are actually just tiny rocks that have separated from the asteroid before they burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

"They are the size of a grain of sand, or even a small stone, and travel tens of thousands of miles per hour," Tucker said.

While observers will need a pair of binoculars or a telescope to capture the Christmas Comet, meteor showers will be visible from anywhere in Australia, even in large cities, provided it is a clear night.

"It's very accessible, you do not need anything special, you just need the night sky," Tucker said.

Friday forecast:

Sydney: predominantly cloudy conditions and low fog, possible breaks.

Melbourne: A cloudy night with scattered storms.

Brisbane: Mostly cloudy. High chance of developing showers.

Adelaide: Cloudy, but possible breaks.

Perth: Mostly clear night.

Hobart: Most hazy conditions.

Canberra: Possible breaks, but mostly cloudy.

Darwin: Mostly cloudy.

AAP

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