If you look up into the night sky on Sunday, December 16, 2018, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Comet 46P/Wirtanen.

This comet, which was discovered in 1948 by Carl Wirtanen, an astronomer, will be about 7.1 million miles away from Earth. That might seem extremely far away, but on a galactic scale, that’s close. In fact, this comet is the 20th closest approach by a comet during the past 12 centuries, according to

The comet is already in our solar system but will be the brightest and most visible on Sunday, December 16, 2018. Some spots across the country will have a better chance at seeing it than others. The comet can best be seen by the naked eye if the skies are very dark, but for the best view, use binoculars or a telescope.

How to See It

You'll be better off in a dark area, away from city lights. 

You'll then want to find the constellation "Orion", which is a fairly easy constellation to find. Look for Orion's signature 3-stars that make up his belt. You'll find Orion in the eastern skyline after sunset tonight. 

Once you've located Orion's Belt, look above the constellation and look for a hazy, green blob - that's Comet 46P/Wirtanen. 

You should be able to see the comet with just your eyes if you're in a very dark area. Otherwise, binoculars or a telescope will greatly increase your chances of seeing the cosmic event. 

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Meteorologist Cody Murphy joined the News4 team in March 2018.

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