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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
10:54 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Comet visible this week

A relatively newly identified comet is at its closest point to Earth right now, and it won't be visible from Earth for at least another 1,000 years, if ever.

Comet Lulin is visible with binoculars even with moderate light pollution this week, according to Sky & Telescope Magazine. People in some rural places have been seeing it with the naked eye.

The comet is green from the gases that make up its Jupiter-sized atmosphere. It is 38 million miles away from Earth.

Look to the east-southeast and spot Saturn and Regulus to follow the comet's path. At about 9 p.m. tonight, the comet should be about halfway between Saturn and Regulus.

A Chinese student named Quanzhi Ye discovered the comet on images taken by Taiwanese astronomer Chi Sheng Lin with a 16-inch telescope at Lulin Observatory in Taiwan on July 11, 2007.

"In China and Taiwan, the comet has been hailed as the 'Comet of Cooperation,'" Sky & Telescope reports.

Earthlings discovered a record 223 comets in 2007.