Comet C/2017 K2 is approaching Earth

On June 14, the giant comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) will approach the Earth. But there is nothing to worry about, because at this moment its distance from our planet will be 1.8 AU, that is 270 million km.

Comet C/2017 K2. Source: NASA, ESA and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

Comet C/2017 K2 is moving towards the Sun

On the night of July 13-14, the closest approach to Earth of comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) will take place. In Kyiv, at the moment when the distance will be the shortest, it will already be 5.09 a.m. This celestial body is remarkable for its gigantic size. Thanks to it, the comet was opened back in 2017.

At that time, it was in the outer part of the Solar system. Over the past five years, it has been slowly moving its elongated orbit and finally reached the inner parts of the Solar System. And astronomers are closely monitoring it.

But do not think that we are in a situation similar to “Don’t look up“. “Nearest” does not mean “very small” distance. In fact, on the morning of July 14, the comet will be as much as 270 million km, that is, 1.8 astronomical units. It will be farther away from us than Venus. 

How to observe a comet

But the long distance to the comet has its negative side. Despite its large size, it will reach only the 7th magnitude. This is less than the eye can discern. Of course, it could be seen with a small telescope or even binoculars. But the observations will be greatly hindered by the light from the Moon, which will also be in the sky.

In the future, C/2017 K2 should get even closer to the Sun. Therefore, its brightness will increase, but it is unknown how much and what the observation conditions will be. It is also known that if a comet passes its perihelion and starts moving away from the sun, then it will cross the orbit of our planet very far from the place where the Earth will be at that time. 

According to

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