Comet C/2017 K2 might be at its closest orbital level to Earth later right now, and you’ll watch the cosmic flyby reside. The comet was first noticed by astronomers in 2017 and ought to be seen through a small telescope all through the summer season.

When Comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) was first positioned, it was 1.49 billion miles (2.4 billion km) from the solar, in accordance with EarthSky. It seems to have a big nucleus, and appears to have a really giant cometary ambiance, or coma. When first noticed, it was the farthest lively inbound comet astronomers had seen to this point. The comet is now orbiting within the internal photo voltaic system, and its closest strategy to Earth is claimed to be right now, July 14, 2022.

Observations by Hubble recommend that Comet K2 is immense, with the nucleus to be someplace round 11 miles (18 km). In comparability to K2, the second largest mountain on Earth which is 28,251 toes (8,611 meters) tall, 11 miles interprets to about 58,000 toes or 18,000 meters. This signifies that the nucleus of Comet K2 could be practically twice the dimensions of the mountain K2.

Adding to the big dimension of Comet K2 is that its cometary ambiance, or coma, has a diameter of roughly 81,000 miles (130,000 km). This interprets to a sphere of gases which can be 10 occasions the diameter of Earth, or practically as massive because the planet Jupiter. Add in observations suggesting its tail is a few 500,000 miles (800 km) lengthy, and that makes for fairly the colossal coma.

The majority of different comets which have been detected have a nucleus of round 0.5 miles to 2 miles (1 to 3km) in diameter. However, there are a number of gigantic ones, akin to Hale-Bopp which is believed to be round 37 miles or 60km and Bernardinelli-Bernstein that’s mentioned to be an astounding 93 miles or 150km.

Anyone making an attempt to look at Comet C/2017 K2 with a small telescope, it is possible for you to to catch a glimpse of the colossal comet all summer season lengthy. Until mid-September it is going to be seen from the Northern Hemisphere, and nearer to the southwestern horizon as seen from the Northern Hemisphere shortly after that. Beyond the top of September, viewing the comet ought to be greatest for these within the Southern Hemisphere.

If you want to watch the cosmic flyby later right now, you are able to do so through a reside feed above supplied by Virtual Telescope’s WebTV starting at 6 p.m. EST. The comet might be roughly 172 million miles (277 kilometers) from Earth at the moment.

Top Image Credit: Virtual Telescope 2.0