Want to see Comet Hartley 2? Astronomers have announced that the best time for amateur sky watchers to see the comet in the night sky will be on Wednesday, October 20th. Amateurs can see the comet with the assistance of just a telescope or binoculars.
Why will the comet be so highly visible in the night sky? That is because October 20th will be the closest Comet Hartley 2 will come to Earth before it goes back towards the sun later this month on its way out of our solar system. Where should you look to see it? According to Softpedia, the place to look is at the center of the constellation Capella.
How close will the comet be to Earth on October? Apparently only 17.7 million miles. According to Red Orbit, Don Yeomans of the NASA Near Earth Object Office said the following about the event: "On October 20, the comet will be the closest it has ever been since it was discovered in 1986 by Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley. It's unusual for a comet to approach this close. It is nice of Mother Nature to give us a preview before we see Hartley 2 in all its cometary glory with some great close-up images less than two weeks later."
The comet is also at the center of a NASA Deep Impact or EPOXI Mission as well. On November 4th, the mission will have the Deep Impact spacecraft only 435 miles from Comet Hartley 2. According to Astrobiology Magazine, cameras on board Deep Impact will take high resolution photos of the nucleus of the comet. This might give researchers more information about Comet Hartley 2 before it is gone out of our solar system.
Exciting time for space and astronomy geeks. Comet Hartley 2 will best be seen at 7pm GMT, but those in the northern hemisphere might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse before that. Will you be trying to catch a peek?Â Go here for the latest news.
Â© Regina Avalos