This week, a newly discovered comet will pass close to Earth to say hello before departing our planetary neighborhood for more than 400 years. Even without a telescope or even binoculars, the green comet C/2023 P1, also known as “Nishimura,” should be visible over the weekend as it gets brighter.
How to see the comet Nishimura If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you won’t be able to see the comet unless you get up early or stay up late. It will rise at 5 a.m. on Sept. 10, and it will appear closer to sunrise each morning thereafter until Sept. 17, when the sun’s glare will make it invisible. Tuesday, Sept. 12 is the perfect balance: Nishimura will be closest to the earth on that night, just 78 million miles from your home.
In the hour or so before sunrise, look for the sickle in the Leo the Lion constellation, which is above the east-northeast horizon. This will help you locate the comet. Nishimura will show up close to Venus. The comet will appear lower on the horizon and the viewing window will get smaller as the days go on, until the sun makes it impossible to see.
It is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see this comet: If you miss it, you will have to wait until 2435 for Nishimura to come back, assuming that it is not captured by the sun’s gravitational pull and destroyed in the interim.
Without binoculars, can the comet Nishimura be seen?
If the sky is clear and there isn’t much light pollution, Nishimura should be big enough to see with the naked eye. However, much under those ideal circumstances, it will be scarcely apparent. Using binoculars, a telescope, or an astronomy-specific camera, you can better scope it out. You should be able to see the comet’s green aura with the appropriate equipment, and you can also take a long exposure to make the comet’s long tail more visible. If you want to start stargazing, check out Lifehacker’s beginner’s guide to astronomy equipment.)
How comet Nishimura was found Hideo Nishimura, the comet’s namesake, found the celestial object on August 11, 2023. Nishimura, an amateur astronomer, used a consumer digital camera’s 30-second exposure setting to capture the comet’s first image.
Cosmologists doesn’t as yet know, yet Earth’s going through the path of the comet Nishimura could be the reason for the Sigma-Hydrid meteor shower noticeable consistently in December.