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A "hyperactive" comet to make one of the closest approaches ever Staff

Published Sunday, December 9, 2018 1:20 EST

Last Updated Sunday, 9 December 2018 1:31 EST

The comet that has come nearer to the Earth in recent months will soon make its closest approach.

The 46P / Wirtanen comet will pass approximately 11.6 million kilometers from the planet on December 16th. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is 384,400 kilometers.

Proximity is rare – it will be the 10th nearest Earth comet in the record – but what the ungrateful of the sky really is is the brightness of the comet. Many of the more comets are barely visible to the naked eye, but the Comet 46P / Wirtanen is expected to be near the brightest when it passes.

As a result, the comet is expected to be visible from most areas of the Earth if the conditions are clear. People watching the sky in most Canadian communities will be able to see that they will start shortly between 5:30 AM. and 6 pm on December 16, reaching its highest point in the sky between 10 am. and 10:30, and then disappears until 4 pm on December 17, according to

There is a zero probability that the comet will hit Earth, according to astronomers at the University of Maryland, although it may remain visible in the night sky several weeks after the peak on December 16.

Maryland astronomers describe Comet 46P / Wirtanen as a "hyperactive" comet that emits more water than it should be based on the size of its core.

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