Rare Green Comet Is Hurtling Toward Earth: How To See Nishimura In MD

By Pikesville Patch
Posted on 09/12/23 | News Source: Pikesville Patch

Skygazers in Maryland still have a few opportunities to see a newly discovered green comet hurtling along a path that will take it close to Earth and the sun before it disappears for another 400-plus years.

Comet Nishimura, discovered Aug. 11 by Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura, is already visible from Earth, but will make its closest approach to our planet on Tuesday. But the best chances to see it may be Sunday, when it makes its closest approach to the sun and reaches peak brightness.

The National Weather Service’s seven-day outlook calls for showers Tuesday night, partly cloudy skies Wednesday night, then clear skies Thursday through Saturday nights, and partly cloudy on Sunday evening.

During its close approach to Earth, the half-mile-wide comet will still be 78 million miles away. It’s visible to the naked eye, but “you really need a good pair of binoculars to pick it out and you also need to know where to look,” Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, told The Associated Press.

To see the comet, look toward the northeastern horizon about an hour and a half before dawn. Weather conditions permitting, the comet will be about 10 degrees above the horizon near the constellation Leo. The comet will brighten as it gets closer to the sun, but will drop lower in the sky, making it tricky to spot.