The brightest comet of 2018 will brighten the night sky this week (PHOTOS)


Keep your eyes glued to the sky because the brightest comet of 2018 is about to appear.

According to EarthSky, the Comet 46P / Wirtanen is expected to pass as close to the Sun on December 12 and closer to Earth on December 16, when it will be 12 million kilometers away.

Kat Kelly, an astronomer at the HR McMillan Space Center in Vancouver, explains that 46 / P will appear as a blue-green ball in the sky.

While comets are known to have a tail of light that follows them, the 46P does not.

"We're unlikely to see a tail," Kelly told The Daily Hive. "Just the main part of the snowball."

She says that comets are essentially "dirty snowballs" in the sky. "They are like ice and gravel packed together with small pieces of dust and rock."

Space enthusiasts around the world have already seen the comet using high-powered telescopes.


46p / Wirtanen / (Edgar CastroBathen / Facebook)


46p / Wirtanen / (Edgar CastroBathen / Facebook)

Images show a bright turquoise ball in the night sky with a weak tail, dragging behind.

Brett Gladman, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, says 46P is an older comet – first discovered in the 1940s – that reaches Jupiter in its 5 year orbit cycle.

"He came close to the sun and burned a lot of his tail," Gladman told The Daily Hive.

Those who want to see 46P should go to a very dark outer area on the night of December 15 or 16, which is when the comet will be closest to Earth.

Kelly says the best time for viewing will be between 12 and 2 in the morning and the comet will face south.

"If people know the Orion Constellation, [46P] is in the upper right corner, "she said.

But Gladman warns not to get "all excited" about the phenomenon because the comet will be hard to see. "It will be weak and diffuse," he said.

If you are a resident of the city, it is best to go out to the darkest place you find and look for a turquoise glow. And if you do not come 46P this time, he'll be back in 5 years.

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Simran Singh

Simran is a Daily Hive copywriter. She likes to write about culture, society and politics. Email her: [email protected]


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