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Cumbrian Sky

How to find Comet Wirtanen

30 Nov 2018, 10:06 UTC
How to find Comet Wirtanen
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

You’ve probably heard that there’s a “bright” comet in the sky. Well, that’s true – kind of! Comet Wirtanen IS bright compared to most comets that visit our sky, and some experienced observers with very dark skies have reported seeing it with their naked eye, but it is really a binocular or small telescope object, and even through those it just looks like an out of focus greenish star, a smudgy fuzzy patch. By mid-December it will be high in the sky and MIGHT be bright enough to see with the naked eye, but it will still only look like a fuzzy patch and nothing like the dramatic images of comets – with bright heads and long, glowing tails – being used to illustrate features about it being posted on social media!

But if you want to find it now where do you look? Luckily, you can use a well-known and very easy to see pattern of stars to point you in the right direction and tell you when the comet is visible in your sky…
Basically, if you can see Orion’s Belt in the east then you can see the comet in the south, because 46P is slightly higher ...

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