Comets can produce a spectacular show in the night sky, especially if you have binoculars or a telescope to see the fainter ones. And luckily for everyone, at least three known comets are expected to pass closely (but safely) by our planet in the next two years.
That's why the Planetary Science Institute hopes to get both amateurs and professionals in on the action. With the rise of digital imaging and the knowledge that amateurs often have more flexibility in observing targets, there's a hope that people all around the world can look at the three comets and help us to understand more about their nature - particularly during bright outbursts.
"An international campaign observing the comet from around the globe would allow better temporal coverage, allowing 24/7 observations of the comet across all longitudes," said project leader Nalin Samarasinha, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, in a statement.
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The three comets are 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak, 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, and 46P/Wirtanen and they are all expected to pass by Earth at distances of between 0.08 and 0.15 astronomical units (with one astronomical unit representing the distance between the Earth and the sun).