New Year's Day

Blazing Comet to Brighten New Year’s Eve Sky


What to Know

  • Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will light up the night sky to the west shortly after sunset on New Year's Eve.
  • NASA says this will be an easy to see comet. It was last visible in Oct. 2011
  • Mars and Neptune will also be visible with a telescope and appear close together, contrasting rusty red with blue-green.

Fireworks won’t be the only thing lighting up the night sky on New Year’s Eve – according to NASA, a comet may be visible as we ring in the new year.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages many of NASA's robotic missions exploring the universe, tweeted that Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will cut through the New Year’s Eve sky. The post included an image of the comet from Oct. 2011, when it was last visible from Earth.

If conditions are clear, Comet 45P will be visible through binoculars or a telescope to the west, blazing with a blue-green head and a thin fan-shaped tail. The comet will appear to meet the crescent moon high in the sky on New Year’s Eve, NASA said.

According to NASA, the comet will be visible through binoculars around 6:30 p.m.

The comet returns to our solar system every five or so years, according to NASA.

Another fun sight for those with a telescope – on New Year’s Eve Mars and Neptune will appear close together, contrasting rusty red with blue-green.

For more information, visit NASA's website.

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