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Comet 46P/Wirtanen - 'Christmas Comet' | by Maria Gemma - A Passionate Photographer
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Comet 46P/Wirtanen - 'Christmas Comet'

This month, a comet called 46P/Wirtanen is doing a dramatic fly-by, giving Earth an unusually good view of its greenish glow.

The timing of the comet's apparition and its seasonally appropriate coloring - have led some to dub it the "Christmas Comet".

The comet, 46P/Wirtanen, made its closest approach on Sunday, when it was about 7.1 million miles from Earth (about 30 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon). The comet hasn't come this close for centuries and won't come this close again for centuries.

Wirtanen is about 0.7 miles wide and orbits the Sun once every 5.4 years. It was discovered on January 17, 1948, by astronomer Carl Wirtanen at the Lick Observatory in Santa Clara County, California.

by David Freeman


Best wishes for the Holidays,


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Taken on December 17, 2018