Comet Nishimura to pass Earth tomorrow: What you need to know about the once-in-400-year event

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaSep 11, 2023 | 12:40

Comet Nishimura to pass Earth tomorrow: What you need to know about the once-in-400-year event

The comet will pass the Earth on September 12. Photo: NASA

A recently discovered comet is approaching Earth, promising a once-in-400-year spectacle.

Astronomers and stargazers worldwide are eagerly anticipating this rare and breathtaking show in the night sky.

How was it discovered?

  • This green-colored comet, a truly rare occurrence not to be seen again for the next 400 years, was spotted not by a scientist but by a keen observer of the sky from Japan.
  • Mr Hideo Nishimura, a Japanese photographer, captured this celestial event on August 12th with his digital camera.
  • The comet is formally known as C/2023 P1 but is commonly referred to as Nishimura in honor of Hideo Nishimura. Remarkably, this was Mr. Nishimura's third comet discovery.

When will it be visible?

  • Even if you missed the comet over the weekend, there's no need to worry, as it is set to pass by Earth on September 12.
  • This kilometer-sized celestial body will safely pass Earth at a distance of over 80 million kilometers.
  • The comet is expected to come closest to the Sun, even closer than Mercury, around September 17th before departing the solar system.
  • As it moves closer to the Sun, the comet will brighten up but will also drop lower in the sky.

How can you spot it?

While spotting the comet with the naked eye is challenging, experts recommend using binoculars for the best view.

Here's how to spot it: Wake up early and direct your gaze toward the northeast horizon approximately 90 minutes before sunrise, with a particular focus on a location less than 10 degrees above the horizon near the Leo constellation.

Photo: Nishimura comet visible in the US/Nasa

After its swing around the Sun, if it survives the close encounter, it will only be visible from the Southern Hemisphere by the end of September.


This week, you can also spot the comet very near your western horizon just after sunset.

This week is likely your last opportunity to view this rare green comet, as it won't return to Earth's vicinity for another 435 years!

Last updated: September 11, 2023 | 12:40
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