December’s Comet Wirtanen released by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Every day NASA releases a different photograph or image (or video) of our expanding universe, along with a professional description written by an astronomer. NASA calls these images the “Astronomy Picture Of The Day, APOD for short. Today it was this beautiful image “December’s Comet Wirtanen.”
December%27s Comet Wirtanen
December’s Comet Wirtanen , Copyright Juan Carlos Casado

“Coming close in mid-December, Comet 46P Wirtanen hangs in this starry sky over the bell tower of a Romanesque church. In the constructed vertical panorama, a series of digital exposures capture its greenish coma on December 3 from Sant Llorenc de la Muga, Girona, Catalonia, Spain, planet Earth. With an orbital period that is now about 5.4 years, the periodic comet’s perihelion, its closest approach, to the Sun will be on December 12. On December 16 it will be closest to Earth, passing at a distance of about 11.6 million kilometers or 39 light-seconds. That’s close for a comet, a mere 30 times the Earth-Moon distance. A good binocular target for comet watchers, Wirtanen could be visible to the unaided eye from a dark sky site. To spot it after dusk on December 16, look close on the sky to the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus.”
Text and Image courtesy of NASA
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture, architectural style of Medieval Europe.

Earth, third planet from the Sun in the Solar System.
Earth, third planet from the Sun in the Solar System.
Girona Province
Girona Province, Province of Spain.
Sant Llorenç de la Muga
Sant Llorenç de la Muga, municipality in the Alt Empordà comarca, in Girona province, Catalonia, Spain.
Española, autonomous community of Spain.