The comet officially known as 46P/Wirtanen is making its way across the skies this coming weekend. The “Christmas Comet” will pass Canada on Sunday, December 16th.
Expected to be the brightest comet of the year, Montrealers can expect to see the comet begin its pass by earth as early as the 13th.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen was looking incredible last night from the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. It’s already naked eye visible and will get even brighter next week at closest approach. @StormHour @Photo_Space @universetoday @EpicCosmos @earthskyscience pic.twitter.com/dFw46eQM0Z
— Kevin Palmer (@krp234) December 7, 2018
Named after the American astronomer, Carl Wirtanen, who first discovered it in 1948, the comet is one of very few that is visible with the naked eye from Earth.
It is also one of only ten comets that have made their closest approaches to earth in modern history.
The “Christmas Comet” will make its closest approach to earth in over 70 years, meaning it should be super bright and visible all night.
— NASA Marshall (@NASA_Marshall) December 7, 2018
Even cooler is that the resulting debris coming off a comet this size can often spark a meteor shower!
The comet could be visible as early as December 13th, but should continue to be visible in the Northern hemisphere until the beginning of January.
For more information on when and where you can catch the Christmas Comet in the sky over Montreal, head over to TimeAndDate.com, where you can check visibility at different times for different locations.