A mega comet glows in the dark in this long-exposure image taken by an astrophotographer on June 18, before its closest approach to Earth.

Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), called K2, will orbit our planet on Wednesday (July 13), almost twice as far from Earth as our world is from the Sun. But the comet, which can be as comprehensive as 100 miles (160 kilometers) across, is still spewing enough dust to show up in telescopes.

“Look for the six-inch coma,” advised John Chumack of galacticimages.com (opens in new tab), who found the massive comet in the constellation Ophiuchus from a dark spot in Yellow Springs, Ohio. (A coma is a cloud of gas and dust ejected by a comet when the Sun heats its surface, causing particles and molecules to rise into space.)

At the time Chumack photographed the comet, it was on the celestial equator in the constellation Ophiuchus. He added that it was visible in the six-inch reflector and the eight-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

But the beautiful image came from Newton’s slightly larger 12-inch F4 reflector, Chumack added. Other equipment involved in the 31-minute exposure included a Bisque ME mount and a modified Canon 6D DSLR camera.

Chuck estimated that K2 was magnitude 9.7 when he caught it on camera, and EarthSky estimates that the comet could brighten to magnitude seven by the end of 2022. By comparison, magnitude 6 is about the faintest star available. The naked eye, although the comet, would be more challenging to see because it is diffuse.

If you’re looking for binoculars or binoculars to see a comet in the night sky, check out our guide to the best binoculars deals and the best binoculars deals. If you need gear to capture the moment, consider our guides to the best astrophotography cameras and lenses to ensure you’re ready for your next comet sighting.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.


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