Brightest Comet K2 heads for Earth! Bigger than Mount Everest, here’s when you can see it

    Giant Comet K2, twice the size of Mount Everest, is just a few hours away from making its closest pass to Earth. Know when to see it.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Jul 13 2022, 22:12 IST
    Comet K2 to pass Earth in Just a few hours! (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)
    Comet K2 to pass Earth in Just a few hours! (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)

    Comet K2 or C/2017 K2 ( (PanSTARRS), is just a few hours away from making its closest pass to Earth. Dubbed as the brightest comet, Comet K2 is coming from the Oort cloud- the most distant region of our solar system. Interestingly, it will be visible even with a small telescope or binoculars on Wednesday and Thursday as it will make its final pass through the solar system. It is said to be one of the farthest active comets ever spotted. K2 will reach its minimum distance of about 170 million miles away from our planet on Wednesday night, reveals Italy-based astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, director of the Virtual Telescope Project to USA Today. It will reach its minimum distance at around 11 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

    Those who don't have telescopes or binoculars can catch the Comet K2 on a live feed hosted by the Italy-based Virtual Telescope Project at 6:15 p.m. ET on Thursday. Masi shared that it will be visible in the Ophiuchus constellation from the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

    Comet K2 was first discovered in 2017 hurtling somewhere between Saturn and Uranus reveals the PanSTARRS survey instrument in Hawaii. And the most surprising fact about this Comet C/2017 K2 is that it is traveling from the Oort cloud to the inner solar system- “an unusually large distance".

    According to NASA, Oort cloud is a giant spherical shell made of icy pieces of space debris the size of mountains and sometimes larger that surrounds the solar system. So it's very unusual for a Comet traveling from Oort cloud to stay active for such a long time. K2 was located in a part of the solar system where sunlight is only 1/225th its brightness as we see from Earth and the temperatures there are minus 440 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the farthest active inbound comet ever seen when captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

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    First Published Date: 13 Jul, 22:12 IST