The comet was earlier christened C/2014 Q2, also known as Comet Lovejoy after Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy and was discovered in August last year. The comet is becoming increasingly visible to people living in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be closest to the Earth on Wednesday according to a release by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The comet will pass near the constellation of Orion which one of the most prominent and identifiable constellations. This will make the comet fairly easy to spot in the night sky. The comet will then slowly make its journey past the Taurus and the Pleiades constellations. Its position in the sky will be tracked on various websites such as Sky and Telescope.
The comet looks green because of ions which give out specific wavelength of light much akin to a neon sign. The green color of the comet is due to the presence of cyanogens and diatomic carbon molecules, which both glow green. The comet will appear grey to normal eye but the true colors will be reproduced through a cameras using a long exposure option.
The C/2014 Q2, also known as Comet Lovejoy is more important since it is a long period comet and originates deep in the space known as the Oort cloud which also happens to be the outermost region of our Solar System.
The Oort cloud is composed of the icy leftovers of the young Solar System and forms vast clouds from where occasionally comets make long journeys into the inner regions of the solar system. Comets are sometimes visible from the Earth like the Lovejoy will be, before heading back out on extremely long orbits.
President of the Beacon Hill Observatory in Cleethorpes, Barrie Watts said the sight would be one worth looking out for and added: “Comets can take months to cross the sky so it should still be in the sky a long time after the seventh – it might be a pretty impressive sight but few comets live up to expectations. It would be a shame to miss it though.”