Two Bright Comets in the Night Sky

The upcoming weekend will please stargazers with two bright comets shining in the night sky at once. On Sunday (December 2), comets 69P/Taylor and 38P/Stephan-Oterma will reach their brightest. Both comets will be well placed for observation, so do not miss this wonderful opportunity!

Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma will reach its brightest at around magnitude 9.7. It will lie at a distance of 1.60 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.78 AU from the Earth. It can be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 21:39, when it rises 21° above your eastern horizon. The comet will reach its highest point in the sky at 03:24, 78° above southern horizon.

Comet 38P should remain well placed for observers through to New Year’s Day 2019, when it may drop back down below binocular visibility at +10th magnitude.

See the magnitude 11.9 comet 69P/Taylor at a distance of 2.40 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 1.53 AU from the Earth. The best time to observe it in the night sky will be between 19:13 and 01:54. It will become accessible at around 19:13, when it rises 21° above your south-eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 22:31.

You can spot these bright comets with binoculars under dark skies, but a telescope with a generous field of view will work better.

Happy stargazing and clear skies!

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