Comet Nishimura, discovered only a month ago by a Japanese astronomer, is heading towards the Sun to which it will be closest this weekend. Which will make it visible from Earth.
Open your eyes wide. Comet Nishimura, discovered only a month ago, is currently heading towards the Sun and will shine at its maximum during the weekend, offering a spectacle visible with simple binoculars, or even with the naked eye.
This small rocky and icy body, whose exact size is not yet known, takes its name from a Japanese amateur astronomer, Hideo Nishimura, who observed it for the first time on August 11.
“It is rare to discover a comet so shortly before its maximum clairvoyance. Most are discovered months, even years before their passage closest to the Sun,” underlines Nicolas Biver, CNRS researcher at the Paris Observatory – PSL.
“C/2023 P1”, as it is scientifically named, has a long-period orbit with a last pass near the Sun dating back 437 years, he explains. No trace of the last passage of this icy visitor has been found in the astronomical archives, specifies the astrophysicist.
A trail of greenish dust
When comets – celestial bodies from the cold regions of the solar system – approach our star, the ice contained in their nucleus sublimates and lets out a long trail of dust reflecting the light of the Sun.
It is this shiny hair, greenish in color because this comet contains “more gas than dust”, that can be observed from Earth. And this, from now on, even if it is this weekend that it will be the brightest, especially in the northern hemisphere.
“The best is to look at the sky before sunrise (around 6 a.m. in France, editor’s note), in a northeasterly direction to the left of Venus (commonly called the Evening Star), in a clear sky and without light pollution”, advises the researcher.
Small binoculars will be enough to enjoy the show, which some could even see with the naked eye if the weather conditions are right.
Source: BFM TV