The comet, which visits Earth only once every 50,000 years, will be closest to Earth on February 1. Then it will be roughly 26 million miles away – a third of the earth’s distance to the sun.
The best observation period is likely to be the end of January when there will be less moonlight, provided that the weather cooperates. With luck, the comet may be visible to the naked eye and certainly with binoculars or a telescope.
The photo taken on Wednesday was made with a large-aperture telephoto lens and lengthy exposure, with the camera looking toward the north.
The comet has a coma, a visible region of particles around it, that measures nearly 31,000 miles around and shimmers green.
According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the green color is produced by a gas caused by heat from the sun’s rays.