Newly Discovered Comet to Swing by Earth this September

For the first time in more than 400 years, a newly found comet is passing through our planetary neighbourhood. Since it won’t come back for another 400 years, astronomers in the Northern Hemisphere should catch a peek as soon as they can, perhaps this week or early the following year.

On September 12, the kilometer-sized (half-mile) comet will safely pass by Earth, coming within 78 million miles (125 million km). Discovered by an amateur astronomer in August, C/2023 P1 is likely to be visible to the naked eye this week.

On August 12, Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura made the discovery that is now known as comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura). A calculation of its trajectory revealed that it will come closest to Earth on September 12 at a distance of 78 million miles (125 million km), just five days before it would come closest to the sun.

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Are Comets signalling Death and Destruction?

There are many accounts of comet sightings in medieval chronicles, where they frequently appear as omens of war, plague, starvation, and the collapse of kingdoms. Comets were reported in the following years in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: 678, 729, 892, 905, 975, 995, 1066, 1097, 1106, 1110, and 1114. They were viewed as negative omens nine times out of ten, predicting a famous historical figure’s demise or disaster.

But also in many different cultures and societies throughout history, comets have caused dread, horror, and amazement. They have been labelled as “the Harbinger of Doom” and “the Menace of the Universe.” They have been seen as both disaster foreboding signs and divine messengers. Why are comets among the celestial bodies that people revere and fear the most? Why did comets cause such fear in so many different cultures?

The most amazing celestial phenomena in the night sky, in the eyes of ancient humans, were comets. There were no other celestial bodies like comets. The motions of comets have always seemed to be exceedingly chaotic and unexpected, in contrast to the movements of most celestial bodies, which move through the heavens at regular, predictable intervals, so regular that constellations could be charted and predicted.

Comet sighting 2023

This sombre representation of sadness was taken to signify the displeasure of the gods who had sent the comet to earth. Others said that the long comet resembled a fiery sword, a classic symbol of battle and death, burning across the night sky. Such a word from the gods could only indicate that the inhabitants of the land will soon be the target of their wrath. Those who seen comets darting across the sky were terrified by such concepts. But there was more to be feared than just the comet’s likeness.

Halley’s Comet was held responsible for earthquakes, disease, red rain, and even the birth of two-headed animals in Switzerland. The killing of Julius Caesar was reportedly marked by a blazing comet, and Caesar and Pompey’s bloody combat is said to have been caused by another comet. The Black Death was attributed in England to Halley’s Comet. Even the South American Incas claim that a comet predicted Francisco Pizarro’s arrival just days before he cruelly overcame them. A meteorite from a comet became one of the most revered things in all of Islam, and Pope Calixtus III even excommunicated Halley’s Comet for being a devil’s tool because of the connection between comets and catastrophes.

Spiritual meaning of Comets

Most frequently, a comet’s approach is linked to calamity and catastrophe. Fortunately, this shouldn’t be taken literally. The comet may portend the passing of a significant person, but it is much more likely to portend the end of something intangible. Even though comets are typically seen as unlucky signs, they can also serve as timely reminders.

They also serve as a reminder of the size of the universe and the fleeting nature of human existence.

Comets also represent times of change that cause us to reevaluate what we previously took for granted. We could feel as though we are at a loss for what to do and that the choices before us are too many to handle.

Many spiritual healers believe that a comet in the sky is a sign of happiness, success, and fortune and is regarded as lucky omen. Comets can also portend uncertain voyages, as well as changes taking place at home with our loved ones nearby.

Where so see Nishimura Comet?

Currently, Comet Nishimura is in the constellation Leo. The comet is now 4.6 in magnitude, making it faintly visible to the unassisted eye but definitely observable using a small pair of binoculars. The comet’s expanding tail is currently almost 1° long. In the early morning sky, C/2023 P1 is visible for a few hours. Find a location distant from city lights with a clear view of the horizon (such as by the sea or in the countryside) and good weather in order to see it.

To find the comet easily, use one of the stargazing apps, Star Walk 2 (get it on App StoreGoogle Play) or Sky Tonight (App StoreGoogle PlayAppGallery)

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