Green Comet for Christmas
Just in time for the Christmas Holiday, you can spot a green comet by using a set of binoculars. Only discovered this past August by Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy, comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) is quickly getting brighter. It was expected to become visible by the unaided eye in late January, but with the surface of the comet heating and freezing (as it gets closer to the sun), you can now spot it by only using binoculars! The green glow of the comet comes from molecules that glow green when hit by the sun’s solar wind.
Since summer the comet’s brightness has increased by hundreds of times, with a peak expected in mid-January. You best bet to see comet Lovejoy is to go out after midnight on a clear night with dark skies. Look about 30 degrees south of the constellation Orion or 18 degrees to the lower right of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. (The attached picture/map is courtesy of National Geographic.)