This weekend, a comet known as Nishimura, a ball of rock and ice whose exact size is still unknown, may be visible to the naked eye. This presents skywatchers with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the celestial event since it hasn’t happened in 437 years. Recently, astronomers were able to discover this fascinating comet, and they decided to name it after the Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura, who was the one who discovered it on August 12.
Find out below how you may witness the breathtaking Nishimura comet this weekend, along with other important data.
The orbital period of the Nishimura comet is 437 years, which is an extremely lengthy time for any object to go around the Sun. It is rather unusual for comets to achieve the point of maximum visibility so quickly after being found, which is precisely why this particular astronomical event is so exciting! However, one of the most eye-catching characteristics of the comet is that its tail has a greenish hue. This is because the comets’ tails contain “more gas than dust.”
This Saturday and Sunday (September 9 and 10) will be the best days for amateur astronomers and professional astronomers alike to view the Nishimura comet, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. People who have relatively compact binoculars will be able to watch the cosmic show. However, if the conditions are right, one could even be able to see the comet with their bare eyes. At an approximate distance of 125 million kilometers from Earth, the comet will just glide by without causing any harm.
Nicolas Biver, an astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory, said:
The best thing to do is look at the sky before sunrise, in a northeastern direction to the left of Venus, in a clear sky, free of pollution.
When comets travel across the expanse of space toward the Sun, the heat from the Sun melts the ice in the comet’s core, causing dust and gas to be expelled in the shape of a lengthy tail. On September 17, Nishimura, also known by its scientific designation C/2023 P1, will make its closest approach to the Sun. At that point, it will be located 33 million kilometers from the Sun, which is considerably closer to the star than the distance that separates Earth and the Sun. Simply incredible!
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.