You better watch out, you better not cry, you better look up into the evening sky! The Christmas Comet’s coming to town!
The comet, known in science talk as 46P/Wirtanen, is only seen once every five years and starts heading our direction late in November. This year, it’s coming 7 million miles from Earth, which is will make it visible to a lucky few and it won’t be that close again for another 20 years. It will be visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy halo. As the comet passes the sun, parts of the comet melt off and create a beautiful glowing green effect (check out the Popular Science article on the moment for more details.)
Fortune has details on how you can see the comet.
To catch a glimpse of 46P, you’ll want to be in an area without much light pollution. Look up with a pair of binoculars between twilight and sunrise. You can check Time and Date to figure out when the best time to see it in your location. It will also tell you in what part of the sky to look. The Virtual Telescope Project will also be live streaming the comet’s trajectory on Sunday starting at 5 p.m. ET.
The proximity of the comet gives scientists an unprecedented opportunity to study the makeup of deep space bodies.
“We’re getting a look at stuff that was formed during the formation of the solar system and has been out in the deep freeze since then,” Jim Lattis, the director of the University of Wisconsin astronomy outreach center, UW Space Place, said to CNN. “When these things come in and we get a chance to study them, we’re seeing some of the raw materials out of which the Earth and the other planets and everything else formed.”