A recently found comet will orbit the sun and Earth before leaving in 400 years

A recently found comet will orbit the sun and Earth before leaving in 400 years

The first comet to pass through our planetary neighbourhood in more than 400 years is a recently found comet.

Since it won’t come back for another 400 years, astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere should catch a peek as soon as they can, perhaps this week or early the following year.

On Tuesday, a kilometer-sized (0.5-mile) comet will safely pass by Earth, coming within 78 million miles (125 million km) of the planet. Israel will be able to see it.

Around 1.5 hours before dawn, early risers should glance towards the northeastern horizon; more specifically, less than 10 or so degrees above the horizon close to the constellation Leo. As the comet approaches the sun, it will become brighter but will also seem lower in the sky, making it difficult to see.

According to Israeli photographer Kfir Veler, who talked with the daily Haaretz on Monday, the comet will start to be visible in the nights from September 15 to 17, right after sunset in the direction in which the sun has set.

The comet, though visible to the naked eye, is incredibly faint.

Therefore, Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies, said that in order to spot it, you “So you really need a good pair of binoculars to pick it out and you also need to know where to look,”

On or around September 17, the comet will approach the sun more closely than Mercury does before leaving the solar system. Assuming it doesn’t explode when it buzzes the sun, even though Chodas said “it’s likely to survive its passage.”

The comet can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere this week, according to Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi, who founded the Virtual Telescope Project, “the last, feasible chances” to do so before it is obscured by the sun’s brightness.

“The comet looks amazing right now, with a long, highly structured tail, a joy to image with a telescope,” he said.

By the end of September, the comet, if it survives its encounter with the sun, should be visible in the Southern Hemisphere, sitting low on the horizon in the waning light.

Since the uncommon green comet was discovered by a Japanese amateur astronomer in mid-August, astronomers have been monitoring it. His name is now attached to the Nishimura comet.

Given all the professional sky surveys being conducted these days by powerful ground telescopes, it’s uncommon for an amateur to locate a comet. This is his third find, so good for him, Chodas said, adding, “This is good for him.”

According to Chodas, the comet was last seen around 430 years ago. That was before Galileo created the telescope by roughly ten or two years.