A Christmas comet

by | 18 December 2018 | Hobbies, Retford, Worksop

Comet 46P Wirtanen will be well positioned for casual stargazers to view it a week before Christmas and it may become visible without optical aid. The Comet is going to be just 0.0755 AU from Earth, just 30 times the distance of the Moon. The comet will be easily located during mid-December as it sweeps between the bright Pleiades cluster, ‘Seven Sisters’ and the Hyades cluster. The comet was first discovered in January 1948 by Carl Wirtanen at Lick observatory and orbits the Sun in 5.5 years, but this year it comes exceptionally close and it is the tenth closest comet approach in modern times. Have a very Happy Christmas and enjoy the stargazing.