From @earthskyscience on Twitter
From @earthskyscience on Twitter


Get Your Binoculars Out: Brightest Comet 46P/Wirtanen Is Passing Above Us, Here Is How You Can Spot It

Written By Apoorva Rao | Mumbai | Published:


  • The brightest comet of 2018, officially called the 46P/Wirtanen, will be closest to earth from next week onwards
  • You can see the comet through binoculars and take photos using a DSLR

However your year has turned out, here's a chance to make it special, especially if you are an avid stargazer. 

The brightest comet of 2018, officially called the 46P/Wirtanen, will be closest to earth from next week onwards, say reports. It is already visible in the night sky.

It is zooming past us earth-dwellers from a distance of 11.5 million km away or 30 times the distance from the moon. Which means for us it appears to be lingering across the sky, more clearly, between December 14 and December 18. It will be brightest on December 16.

The comet, also called the Christmas comet, will be visible along with its halo of light. It will be as big as the full moon. It will, however, look like a fuzzy patch. The comet can be seen if you are using binoculars and away from the city lights.

As per NASA, the comet is closer to us than it ever was in the last 400 years. The next time it will be as close as this year will be in the next 20 years.

"People are getting good views in binoculars and it should be potentially visible all the way out until the beginning of January," Dr Musgrave said to a publication. A standard DSLR camera should get you great clicks of the Christmas comet. It will appear as the brightest stars in Southern Cross.

A bonus for those who wake up very early, ie during the pre-dawn hours, is that they will also get to see the Geminid meteor shower. The meteor shower will peak on December 15.

How to spot the comet:

As per reports, it appears that the comet is best visible to those who are in Australia. It is visible in the north-eastern sky there from about an hour and a half post sunset till early morning when it will appear to have set into the horizon.

As per @earthskyscience account on Twitter Tonight,  here is its precise location across the sky for December . 

Indians may not lose heart as yet as a Twitter user from Mumbai has claimed to have seen the comet and taken its picture too.