Watch the New Year's Skies for a Green Comet
Comet Lovejoy is brightening faster than expected, putting on a show you can see for yourself this holiday season.
Just in time for the holidays, the skies are serving up a special cosmic gift: a brightening comet that may not have been in our part of the solar system for nearly 12,000 years.
Discovered only this past August, comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is now quickly brightening to naked-eye visibility as it moves from the deep southern sky into prime viewing location for observers throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The comet already put on a Christmas show, glowing green thanks to molecules that glow when hit by the sun's solar wind.
This icy visitor to the inner solar system was first spotted by its namesake, Terry Lovejoy, an Australian astronomer using a common backyard telescope with only an eight-inch mirror. He spotted the