Comet 46P/Wirtanen: The Brightest Comet of 2018

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is due to closely sweep passed the sun on December 12, 2018 and then pass the Earth on December 1646P/Wirtanen is a small short-period comet that was discovered photographically on January 17, 1948, by the American astronomer Carl A. Wirtanen at the Lick Observatory. The comet has a current orbital period of 5.4 years.

On December  16, 2018 the comet will pass Earth, expecting an estimated magnitude of 4.2, making this pass the brightest one predicted. It could possibly peak at magnitude three at a point close to its Earth approach on December 15.

When it passes it will be around 7.4 million miles away, or 30 times the distance the Earth is from the Moon. You should be able to see 46P/Wirtanen with the naked eye, even at a location with a little light pollution.

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