Comet Nishimura visits us these days: how to see it and what is the best time to observe it

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We are in the best moments to observe the Cometa Nishimura, who visits us these days. We tell you how to do it.

Most of the kites that approach the Earth are too faint to be seen with the naked eye and go unnoticed. Only from time to time there is one that becomes visible providing us a beautiful show. These days there is a comet, called Nishimura (C/2023 P1) which has aroused a lot of expectation. Its name comes from its discoverer, the Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura who, on August 12, used a SLR camera equipped with a telephoto lens to scan the sky from Kakegawa.

He comet had escaped the great explorations carried out by telescopes dedicated to monitoring the sky night after night, a job similar to net fishing. That is why it is very worthwhile that the discovery was made by an amateur astronomer who, following the simile, is as if he were fishing with a rod.

It is comet describes an elliptical orbit around the Sun, Its period is about 435 years. Its closest approach to Earth (about 126 million kilometers) will take place on September 12, while the perihelion (point of closest approach to the Sun, about 34 million kilometers) will occur five days later, the September, 17th. He Cometa Nishimura It will then pass so close to the Sun that it does not seem impossible that it will disintegrate. For orientation, let us remember that the Earth-Sun distance is about 150 million kilometers.

The orbit of comet It is inclined with respect to the Earth’s orbit, in such a way that, during its visit, the comet always appears close to the line of sight to the Sun. Therefore, It is only visible at dawn, very close to the horizon, just before sunrise. From our latitudes, in these days of early September, it can be observed at about 15 degrees of elevation on the eastern horizon, as we say, just before the Sun rises. With each passing day, the comet is closer and closer to the Sun, so that in mid-September it will be engulfed in the solar glare and will not be observable.

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