01/15/2016 – Ephemeris – The Comet Catalina is closest to the Earth this weekend
Ephemeris for Friday, January 15th. The Sun will rise at 8:16. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 5:27. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 12:19 tomorrow morning.
Comet Catalina is near its brightest now that it’s closest to the Earth, or will be Sunday at about 67 million miles (108 million km), about three-quarters the distance to the Sun. It is also circumpolar, staying up all night for the entire IPR listening area. That’s not as big a deal as it sounds because the Moon won’t set till after midnight and it’s getting brighter as it moves to become full in a couple of weeks. So the best views are still in the morning for the next week. The comet can be spotted in binoculars as a fuzzy spot. The comet is now nearest the star Mizar in the bend of the Big Dipper’s handle. It’s slowly moving to split the distance between the Big and Little Dippers between now and the end of the month. Good comet hunting!
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.