When, Where And How To See The Giant ‘K2’ Comet Now At Its Biggest, Brightest And Best After A Three Million Year Journey

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Now July’s full Moon has come and gone it’s time to start looking for one of the biggest comets ever discovered.

It was the largest known comet when it was discovered by astronomers using The. Pan-STARRSTelescopes will be back in 2017 (though since surpassed by a “mega comet”), C/2017 K2 Panstarrs will reach its minimum distance from our planet—about 1.8 times the Earth-Sun distance—on July 14, 2022.

The Virtual Telescope Project promised to Live stream the event onlineYou can see it with any telescope, but you cannot actually get your eyes on it.

It will be the closest to the Sun on December 19, 2022.

It’s the best time of year to search for it right now, and all through August.

Here’s a star-chart to help you find it on July 14, 2022:

It’s in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is high in the south as seen from the northern hemisphere. Just before Moonrise wherever you are. It will move closer to Ophiuchus star Saik and get very close to him at the end July.

It was 16 times as far as the Earth-Sun distance when it was discovered in 2017.

It’s a big comet, with the Hubble Space Telescope reckoning it to have a nucleus of about 11 miles/18 kilometers—about 10 times bigger than most comets. Its coma is approximately 81,000 miles/130,000km in diameter.

The “averted vision” technique is what comet-hunters use to see such objects properly. It works because the human eye’s peripheral vision is the most sensitive to brightness, rather than the center of the eye, which sees color.

Once you’ve got C/2017 K2 Panstarrs in the crosshairs of your telescope look slightly away from it to really appreciate its brightness.

A Mega-comet spotted 2021According to Hubble Space telescope observations, this is now the largest size ever observed.

Estimated to be 80 miles across and with a mass of 500 trillion tons, comet C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) has the largest icy comet nucleus ever seen. It’s now on a once-in 600,000-years visit to our solar system, but about two billion miles away. Its closest approach to the Sun won’t be until 2031.

We wish you bright skies and wide-eyed visions.

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