If you have an interest in astrology, or just want to see something extraordinary this weekend, take a look to the skies on December 16th. The comet officially known as Comet 46P (also known as the “Christmas Comet”) will be on full display. And depending on your location, you might not even need a telescope to see it!
Comet 46P The “Christmas Comet”
Comet 46P completes its orbit around the sun once every five years. And while it’s not necessarily a rare sight, this year’s visit is setting up to be something truly special. At only seven million miles away from Earth, the “Christmas Comet” will become the 10th closest comet to fly by in almost 70 years. Because of its close proximity to Earth (in terms of comets), Comet 46P will be far brighter than normal, making it easier to spot in the night sky. And if you want to witness the “Christmas Comet” at its brightest, you’ll want to schedule your stargazing for Sunday night. As this will be when the comet passes closest to Earth.
Though this comet will be one of the brightest to pass by Earth in the last half-century, you’re still going to need to find a suitable viewing location. The best locations tend to be open, rural areas with little to no light pollution. Though, if you live in a city, this may not be a viable option for you. Instead, you can follow a live stream via the Virtual Telescope Project. It may not be as awe-inspiring as watching the comet fly by in your own backyard, but it’s the next best thing.