Comet 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková will be swinging by the Earth on the night of Friday, February 10th. This will be the closest approach of a comet in more than 30 years and Slooh will be watching it live in the hours before.
45P was discovered nearly 70 years ago, in 1948, by Japanese astronomer Minoru Honda and will come within 7.5 million miles of the Earth during its close approach. We’ll be pointing our telescopes at the comet all week, leading up to the live broadcast on February 10th. The comet will be flying through the western skies and should be visible through binoculars. There’s a chance it might even become visible to the naked eye as it gets closer to the Earth.
During the live show, Slooh astronomers and experts will take a look at the history of comets in human society. Historically, comets have primarily been viewed as omens, warnings that the gods have become displeased with the world of men. Others, like Ghengis Kahn, saw them as a different kind of omen, a message from the gods that it was time to go to war.
Comets have also appeared several times in popular culture, appearing in Tolstoy’s War and Peace and in the science fiction modern classic Deep Impact among others. We’ll discuss all of these during the live show.
Can you spot the comet? Snap a photo of the comet in your night’s sky, tweet them to @Slooh, and we’ll share some of those images during the live show.