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How To Watch The K2 Comet When It Swings By This Week

How To Watch The K2 Comet When It Swings By This Week

It's one of the largest known comets in observance and it'll be flying close to Earth very soon.

The K2 comet has been making its way toward us over the last five years, and this week it’s set to safely fly by just 270 million kilometres (168 million miles) past Earth.

This week will be an eventful one for stargazers: the comet’s passing closely coincides with a supermoon on July 13. 

The comet’s passing should likely resolve the uncertainty surrounding the size of the comet’s nucleus, with current estimates ranging from 18 kilometres (11 miles) to 160 kilometres (100 miles).

Either way, it’s definitely big.

Its tail is indisputably so, estimates of which range between 130,000 and 800,000 kilometres (81,000 and 500,000 miles).

This makes it one of the largest known comets yet. 

The official time of the K2 comet's closest approach is set to 11:09 p.m. EDT (3:09 a.m. UTC) on July 14.

Even at its closest approach, however, the comet will likely be too dim to view with the naked eye.

Options for the stargazing layman to observe the comet is with a small telescope, binoculars, or the help of the Virtual Telescope Project.

The Project will be live-streaming the passing from 6.15 p.m. ET (10:15 p.m. UTC) on July 14.

If you do have a telescope, though, it will be visible for the rest of the summer. 

Featured Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Topics: Space, News