Rare comet to zoom by Earth this New Year's Eve

Published: December 31, 2016

While fireworks are a common sighting on New Year’s eve, this year you may see a raging comet in the night sky.

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has discovered a comet that may be visible on New Year’s Eve. “Say farewell to 2016 in cosmic style by looking up to see the #NewYearsEve #comet on December 31,” the laboratory said in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

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Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will be near the moon on December 31, NASA said.  The periodic comet returns to the inner solar system approximately every five years.

Astronomical lecturer at Griffith Observatory in California, David Reitzel said the comet is observable using a telescope or strong binoculars. However, for a decent view he suggested going away from residential lights.

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Further, 2017 may bring more opportunities for spotting comets. People may be able to sight numerous comets throughout the year, according to NASA. On February 11 people might be able to see Comet 45P from even closer – about 7.5 million miles away.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY.

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