A newly discovered green comet will make its grand debut next week, before disappearing for the next four centuries.
According to EarthSky, the half-mile-sized Comet Nishimura will likely be visible to the naked eye from the Northern Hemisphere for an incredible five mornings after entering our solar system on Tuesday.
The ice ball will be the closest to Earth on September 12, but will pass from a safe distance of 78 million miles as it progresses on its journey toward the sun.
If it survives its brush with the Sun, the comet should be visible again at the end of the month, but this time only from the southern hemisphere.
Although visible to the naked eye, people hoping to catch a glimpse of Nishimura are warned that his trail will be faint.
Early risers should look toward the northeastern horizon about 90 minutes before sunrise and expect to see the comet pass about 10 degrees above the horizon near the constellation Leo.
Comet Nishimura could be visible just before dawn for five mornings next week. Sebastian Voltmer/Twitter
The green comet will brighten each day as it approaches the sun, but it will dip lower in the sky, making it difficult to detect.
“So you really need a good pair of binoculars to make it out and also know where to look,” said Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
Nishimura was discovered just a month before passing through our solar system.
The ice ball will be the closest to Earth on September 12, but it will pass from a safe distance of 78 million miles away. EarthSky
Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura captured the comet of the same name while photographing the night sky on August 11 and 12.
It had been hiding in the glare of the sun before Nishimura captured it in his images, EarthSky reported.
It is the third comet discovered by the amateur astronomer.
The comet will not return to Earth for another 430 years, as long as it survives its journey close to the sun. EarthSky
Little is known about the comet, but experts theorize that Nishimura could be the source of an annual Sigma-Hydrid meteor shower that lights up the night sky between December 9 and 12 each year.
The ice ball was probably last visited 430 years ago, a decade or two before Galileo invented the telescope.
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