If your little elves have their eyes on the sky in search of that Christmas star to wish upon this weekend, they just might spot an incredible sight. The brightest comet of the year will light up the sky this weekend, but you have to know where and when to look.

On the tail of the Geminid meteor shower, a dazzling green comet will streak across the night sky over the weekend,  coming close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye. Comet 46P/Wirtanen, as it’s named, will come within 7 million miles of Earth. It won’t come this close again for another 20 years.

photo: Greg Rakozy via Unsplash

According to NASA, Comet 46P—also known as the “Christmas comet”—will be at its brightest on Dec. 16. For the best view, you’ll want to pick a dark spot, away from light pollution if possible. Then look to the sky anytime between twilight and sunrise. You can check TimeandDate.com to pinpoint the ideal time to look based on your location.

“Look towards the east with a small pair of binoculars or a telescope to see the green, fuzzy comet. It will be near the constellation Orion, or the saucepan,” said Brad Tucker from the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Happy stargazing!

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—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

 

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