Newly-discovered Nishimura comet will soon be visible from Germany
The newly discovered Nishimura comet will soon cross the skies above German cities and towns. It will be visible with the naked eye alone and it may be your only chance to see it before its return to deep space!
German stargazers await Nishimura comet
The recently-discovered C/2023 P1 Nishimura comet will be visible in the skies over Germany between August 26 and September 10. Depending on the weather, eager stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse with just the naked eye, but a small telescope will afford a closer look at the comet’s tail.
From September 5 the comet will get brighter, but only for a short while. It is unsure for how long the comet will be visible in the sky over the federal republic, but it is expected to disappear from view by September 10.
During its journey, the comet will travel very close to the sun, which makes the likelihood of it disintegrating very high. If this does happen, the pieces of the comet will be flung back to the Oort Cloud, a region of the solar system where most comets are thought to originate, which will mean a second sighting at the end of September might be possible.
However, some have speculated that the comet originated from interstellar space rather than the Oort Cloud. If this is the case, it could be that this September is the last time the comet passes by the Earth before it is flung into deep space.
Either way, this September is likely to be the last opportunity that any human currently alive will have to see the Nishimura comet.
Nishimura discovered by a Japanese amateur stargazer
Surely the peak of any amateur astronomist's career, the Nishimura comet was discovered by a Japanese stargazer sometime between August 11 and 12, 2023.
Impressively, Hideo Nishimura discovered the comet, which had long been invisible to humans because of the glare of a nearby star, using just a digital camera. The comet was officially named C/2023 P1 (Nishimura) by the Minor Planet Centre on August 15.
Thumb image credit: David Hajnal / Shutterstock.com