Published Sunday, December 9, 2018 1:20 AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, December 9, 2018, at. 1:31 AM EST
A comet that has become closer and closer to earth in recent months will soon make its closest approach yet.
Comet 46P / Wirtanen will pass within approx. 11.6 million kilometers of the planet on December 16th. For reference, the distance between the land and the moon is 384,400 kilometers.
The proximity is rare – it will be the tenth closest to the ground on record – but what really thrills sky-gazers is the brightness of the comedy. Many of the closer comets were barely visible to the naked eye, but the Comet 46P / Wirtanen is expected to be near the brightest when it passes by.
As a result, the comet is expected to be visible from most areas of the Earth if conditions are clear. People who look at clouds in most Canadian communities will see it start short between 5:30 and 10:00 on the 16th of December with the highest point in the sky between kl. 10 and 10:30 and then fade away at 4:00 on 17 December according to In-The-Sky.org.
There is a zero percent chance for the comet that hits the ground, according to astronomers at the University of Maryland, although it could remain visible in the night sky for several weeks after its 16th dec.
The Maryland astronomers describe the Comet 46P / Wirtanen as a "hyperactive" comet that emits more water than it is expected to be based on the size of its core.