About 46P/ Wirtanen
The comet Wirtanen commonly known as Comet 46P was discovered on January 17, 1948 by American Astronomer Carl A. Wirtanen. It is a short period comet with an orbital period of 5.4 years.
Closest approach to Earth
Comet 46P/Wirtanen had begun its apparition (magnitude 10.5) along with the Cetus–Fornax constellations border in the late September morning sky. About mid-November, 46P will be heading straight north with ever-increasing speed, rocketing in brightness and altitude until it towers in Taurus in all of its 4th-magnitude glory two weeks before Christmas. Its closest approach to Earth will be on 16th December 2018.
Comet 46P’s exceptionally close approach to the Earth of 11.5 million km on December 16th could mean several weeks of naked-eye visibility from dark skies. Comet Wirtanen is intrinsically bright, comes closest to our planet just four days after perihelion, and remains visible all night, making this an exceptional apparition.
How to observe
The comet will be visible through naked eyes only from dark skies, else a binocular or small telescope can be used.
The comet is approaching us during the end of this year in December, if you miss even this one, you will have to wait for 5.4 years more that is until mid-2024.
So, get ready with your gears and let’s welcome the celestial visitor in our skies and don’t forget that it can be a good opportunity for the Astrophotographers to capture their visit.