Brightest comet of 2018 to pass by Earth soon

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A comet will make a close approach to Earth this weekend, but it’ll still be pretty far away.

Although this is the brightest comet of 2018, it still won’t be all that dazzling, especially with a very bright moon. 

The 46-P comet also known as “Wirtanen,” can’t be easily seen with the naked eye. So you’ll want some help to get a better glimpse of this celestial wonder.

A telescope or even a regular pair of binoculars will do the trick. You’ll want to wait until after dark and get away from the city lights.

“And the only thing that will happen Sunday is it is the closest approach to Earth,” said Karl Martini, assistant dean of arts and sciences at Western New England University. “It will come about as close as 30 times the distance to the moon.”

The comet is also making a close approach to the sun, which means thousands of pounds of water are evaporating off the comet every second, and all that evaporated water reflects sunlight which makes up a comet’s signature tail. 

Sunday’s event will be the tenth closest approach of the comet in modern times.

The forecast calls for showers Sunday morning, but they should clear for partly cloudy conditions that night, which will make viewing the comet that much tougher. 

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