- Stargazers are in for a treat this weekend with Comet Lovejoy set to make its closest approach to Earth, which will provide sights not to be seen again for 8,000 years!
- Comet Lovejoy is about 70 million kilometres from the Earth, which is approximately half the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
- The comet (officially called C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy) is named after Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy, who discovered it in August 2014 while taking images from his backyard with an 8-inch telescope.
- Terry says that even people without a telescope can spot the comet, and should use the constellation Orion as a reference point – looking at it as if it were a hunter, and focusing to the left of its ‘knee’.
- Those looking for Lovejoy should look out for a softly glowing bluish green ball
- Astronomers say people should avoid having a cigarette while looking for the comet, as smoking affects blood supply to the optic nerve and reduces night vision.
- Like other comets, Lovejoy is a chunk of ice and dust orbiting the sun.