Comet Hartley 2 Will Be Visible From The Northern HorizonOctober 20th, 2010 - 8:35 pm ICT by GD
By Meena Kar
Oct 20, (THAINDIAN NEWS) Discovered in 1986 by Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley, comet Hartley 2 will make its closest appearance towards the earth today in the midnight. Astronomers have said that the comet might be visible in the night sky, from those areas which are away from the cities and sans of any atmospheric impurities like dusts and fog. It will be best viewed with the help of binoculars and telescopes. Although it can also be faintly seen with naked eyes from some parts of the Earth.
Comet Hartley 2 is a mountain sized ball of ice and dusts and revolves around the sun in a span of 6.5 years. However, in most cases it remains a mystery, as its ‘Gravitational Interaction’ with Jupiter keeps the comet’s path away from the earth. That made it impossible for the comet to be visible without the use of professional and well-equipped telescope. Five months ago, the planet made its closest approach towards the Sun. The solar radiation was responsible for the vaporization of the icy surface of the nucleus, forming the dusty and “Fuzzy” tail, that stretches for about 1.1 million miles. The comet would be best recognized by its tail, if seen with the help of a telescope.
However, this time our earth got lucky, as the mysterious celestial body can also be seen with our naked eyes in the form of a faint and “fuzzy” patch in the late night sky of the Northeast horizon. One who is interested can easily locate the comet, as it would pass the bright star Capella in the Auriga constellation. However, it will be visible only to those, who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, has to wait till the month ends. Comet Hartley 2 will be just 17.7 million kilometers away from the Earth, which is just 45 times the distance between the Moon and our planet.
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Tags: astronomer, auriga constellation, bright star, celestial body, comet, dusts, fuzzy patch, gravitational interaction, impurities, malcolm hartley, meena, million miles, naked eyes, night sky, northern hemisphere, northern horizon, solar radiation, southern hemisphere, star capella, vaporization