The Brightest Comet in Our Solar System Passes By Earth Today, and You Can See It

The Brightest Comet in Our Solar System Passes By Earth Today, and You Can See It

If you’re one of those numerous stargazers fascinated by so-called “cosmic snowballs,” we have some great news for you! You have the chance to witness the brightest comet in our Solar System as it passes by our planet this Wednesday and Thursday, according to USA TODAY NEWS.

The space object in question is called the C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS comet, or you can simply call it K2 for short. Considering that K2 is extremely bright, you may have already guessed that the space object is also huge. You must also keep in mind that having a cloudless sky above your head and good eyesight won’t be enough. You’ll also need binoculars or a small telescope to see the comet, as it’s not detectable with the naked eye.

K2 will be 170 million miles away from Earth

The K2 comet will be placed at a distance of 170 million miles away from our planet, which translates to over 270 million kilometers away. 

The comet seems to be a real goldmine for astronomers since it features materials dating back from the beginning of the Solar System, roughly 4.5 billion years ago. 

David Jewitt from UCLA explained about the comet, as USA TODAY NEWS quotes, that it “is packed with materials that have been frozen since the beginning of solar system time.”

He continues, as the same source quotes:

“When we study these comets, we’re trying to look at material has been preserved from the beginning of the solar system.”

Scientists believe that the C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS comet has its origin in the Oort Cloud, meaning the region of the Solar System where about 1 trillion comets are thought to exist. 

Astronomers started to assess the K2 comet back in 2017 by using the Hawaii-based Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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