The brightest comet of the year is set to make its closest flyby of Earth this weekend.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen, the so-called ‘Christmas comet’ known to cast a striking green glow in the night sky, follows a 5.4-year orbit that will bring it to its closest point to Earth on Sunday, December 16.
Already, astrophotographers have begun to share incredible views of the icy space rock as it approaches.
It’ll best be seen with a telescope or binoculars, but NASA says some lucky viewers may even be able to see it with the naked eye.
To get a good look at Comet 46P, you’ll want to find the darkest possible viewing area, where the night sky is free of bright city lights.
It will appear just above the eastern horizon on the 16th, soaring between the V-shaped ‘horns’ of the constellation Taurus, EarthSky says.
At its closest point, Comet 46P will be just 7.1 million miles away (11.5 million kilometers) – or, about 30 times the distance between Earth and the moon, according to the University of Maryland.
While that might sound far away, researchers say it will be the 10th closest approach of a comet in modern history.
NASA shared a breathtaking photo just last month of the comet glowing brightly in the sky as it made its way toward its close approaches with the sun, on the 12th, and Earth a few days later.