Comet Lovejoy bids adieu to Earth, to be spotted again in 8,000 years
Comet Lovejoy, after mesmerising astronomers for the past three years, has finally said goodbye to Earth on Saturday night, January 25.
New Delhi: It was a 'watch it now or wait for 8000 years' moment for skygazers to witness the Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) with naked eyes on the night of January 24.
Comet Lovejoy, after mesmerising astronomers for the past three years, has finally said goodbye to Earth on Saturday night, January 24. The comet won't be spotted again from the Earth for the next 8,000 years.
Observatories everywhere asked public to join them in viewing the spectacular comet on Saturday while there was still time.
The reason that Lovejoy had been getting special attention from sky addicts was because of its unique green and fuzzy light, setting it apart from all other comets. This greenish nature of Lovejoy is due to the diatomic carbon gas present in it.
The unique green glow and fuzziness of the comet made it a social media sensation, as skygazers from across the world shared snapshots of the curious green dot in the night sky.
The comet will come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 30 January 2015 and soon it will vanish in outer space for another 8,000 years.
On January 7th, Comet Lovejoy passed closest by Earth at a distance of 44 million miles (70 million km), nearly half the distance from Earth to the Sun.
Comet Lovejoy was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy November 2011.
According to scientists, the last time it came near Earth was around 11,000 years ago.
So, if you missed watching it (Lovejoy), watch out for another interesting celestial treat -asteroid 2004 BL86, tonight (Monday), January 26.
As the asteroid whizzed past by Earth tonight, it should be easily visible for skygazers everywhere.