New Year's Eve Bonus: a Comet

But the naked eye won't be of much use
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2016 1:59 PM CST
New Year's Eve Bonus: a Comet
A screen shot of what the comet looked like on its previous pass, in 2011.   (NASA/Instagram)

The night sky is providing a little extra festivity on New Year's Eve: a potential glimpse of a returning comet. USA Today has this explainer on how to see it: "People should point their instruments to the west just after sunset to catch a glimpse of the comet, which will be just to the left of the crescent moon." Yes, you'll need at least binoculars and ideally a telescope to spot Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, advises Earth & Sky. It adds that Venus will be a bright object around the same place, so beware of errant proclamations. (For that matter, you can look for the comet before and after New Year's Eve, the website notes.) Still, NASA casts things in an almost poetic perspective: "On New Year's Eve, the comet and the crescent moon will rendezvous to say farewell to 2016." (More comet stories.)

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