NEW FEATURE: VOTE & EARN NEATOPOINTS!
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!


9

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen As It Passes Through the Night Sky

In order to observe the stars and other celestial bodies clearly, you would usually need a telescope to magnify it. But Comet 46P/Wirtanen which will pass by the Earth mid-December may be visible even to the naked eye.

Astronomer Carl Wirtanen discovered his namesake comet in 1948. He was a skilled object hunter and used photos of the night sky to spot the quickly moving object, at least astronomically speaking.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen’s orbit keeps it pretty near to the sun. Its aphelion, or farthest point from the sun, is about 5.1 astronomical units (AU), which is just a tad bigger than Jupiter’s orbit. Its perihelion, or closest approach to the sun, is about 1 AU, just about the Earth’s distance from the sun. This path takes about 5.4 years to complete, meaning it comes back into view quite frequently compared to other famous comets.
Right now, it is approaching its perihelion. Its closest point to the sun will fall on Dec. 16 – which is why it will be brightest on this day.

(Image credit: Andy Roberts/Astronomy for Beginners via Wikimedia Commons)


Newest 1
Newest 1 Comment

Login to comment.




Email This Post to a Friend
"Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen As It Passes Through the Night Sky"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More