The comet known as C/2016 U1 NEOWISE is travelling close to Earth from December 31 to January 14. Those living in the northern hemisphere have the best view of this extremely rare comet while those in the southern hemisphere can still catch a glimpse of it during the last day of this month, before the comet becomes too far to be spotted.
“At its brightest, comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE will pass through the constellations Ophiuchus to Serpens Cauda and Sagittarius, and is best visible in the dawn sky 12 degrees from the Sun at maximum brightness,” stated Universe Today. According to Paul Chodas, the manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies, you must look out for C/2016 U1 NEOWISE using binoculars. It can also be seen with the naked eye.
C/2016 U1 was actually by spotted by the space agency last October. Not much is still known about it but the scientists believe that the comet passed the sun millions of years before, which means that its orbit around the sun could take up to millions of years long. Because of this, the scientists speculate that this is actually the first time the comet has passed through the inner solar system.
Comets are made of ice, dust and rocky materials. They are known for their tail, which occurs when the ice melts as the comet travels near the sun, leaving behind a trail of debris. Another object called 2016 WF9 was also spotted by the NEOWISE project on Nov. 27, 2016. The object was probably a comet once or it could have been kicked out of the main asteroid belt.
This coming February 25, 2016 WF9 will approach Earth’s orbit. Scientists estimate that it would be as close as 32 million miles or 51 million kilometers from our planet. Experts also assert that the object pose no threat to the planet.