What to Know
- Point your telescope or binoculars to the west shortly after sunset Saturday; the comet should be to the left of the moon
- Comet 45P will swing back around the sun in February, offering an even brighter view
- NASA says 2017 should be a good year for comet viewing
The iconic Times Square ball with its 32,000 LED lights won't be the only thing lighting up the sky over the Crossroads of the World on New Year's Eve -- according to NASA, a comet might be visible as revelers ring in 2017.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages many of the agency's exploratory robotic missions, tweeted an image of the comet's previous tilt across the solar system from October 2011 with the message, "Say farewell to 2016 in cosmic style by looking up to see the #NewYearsEve #comet on December 31."
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova returns to the inner solar system every half decade or so, NASA said.
The comet is visible now using a telescope or heavy duty binoculars, according to USA Today. On Saturday, anyone who wants a glimpse should angle their devices to the west shortly after sunset; the comet, a bluish-green body with a long tail, should be to the left of the moon, the website reported.
Comet 45P will swing back around the sun in February, offering an even brighter view.