A newly discovered green comet will be making a big debut next week — before disappearing for the next four centuries.
The half-mile-sized Comet Nishimura will likely be visible to the naked eye from the Northern Hemisphere for five incredible mornings after entering our solar system Tuesday, according to EarthSky.
The ball of ice will be the closest to the Earth on Sept. 12, but will pass from a safe distance of 78 million miles away as it barrels through its journey toward the sun.
If it survives its brush with the sun, the comet should be visible again at the end of the month, but this time only from the Southern Hemisphere.
Although visible to the naked eye, folks hoping to catch a glimpse of Nishimura are warned that its trail will be faint.
Early risers should look toward the northeastern horizon about 90 minutes before dawn and expect to see the comet pass about 10 degrees above the horizon near the constellation Leo.
The green-colored comet will brighten each day as it makes its way closer to the sun, but will drop lower in the sky, making it tricky to spot.
“So you really need a good pair of binoculars to pick it out and you also need to know where to look,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
Nishimura was discovered just one month before it is expected to pass through our solar system.
Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura captured the eponymous comet while he was photographing the night sky on Aug. 11 and 12.
It had been hiding in the sun’s glare before Nishimura picked it up in his images, EarthSky reported.
It is the third comet the amateur astronomer has discovered.
Little is known about the comet, but experts theorize Nishimura might be the source of an annual Sigma-Hydrid meteor shower that lights up the night sky around December 9 to 12 each year.
The ice ball itself likely last visited 430 years ago — a decade or two before Galileo invented the telescope.
With Post Wires