October 20th, 2010
06:04 PM ET

Stargazing: A visible comet, the most distant galaxy

The NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope took this false color picture of Hartley 2 in September.

The Hartley 2 comet should be visible to the naked eye as it makes its closest pass to Earth this week.

The mountain-sized ball of ice and dust has been too faint to be seen without a professional telescope since its discovery in 1986 by Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley.

But as the comet has drawn closer to Earth in the past week,  passing the brilliant star Capella in the constellation Auriga, it has become visible above the northeast horizon as a faint, fuzzy patch, according to National Geographic's news blog.

Dark skies away from cities will offer the best views, and binoculars or a telescope will sharpen the detail, National Geographic reported. The hours before dawn are the best time to look for it, according to Stardate magazine, where readers can download a chart to help find the comet.

NASA's Deep Impact probe will gather data on the comet when they pass within 435 miles of each other on November 4.

In other news from a galaxy far, far away, a European team of astronomers has measured the distance to the most remote galaxy so far.

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to analyze the faint glow of the galaxy, they discovered that they are seeing it when the Universe was only about 600 million years old, according to an ESO press release.

"We have confirmed that a galaxy spotted earlier using Hubble is the most remote object identified so far in the Universe” said the lead author of the paper reporting the results, Matt Lehnert of the Observatoire de Paris.

The results will appear in the October 21 issue of the journal, Nature.

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Filed under: Space
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. skywatcher

    the website http://www.heavens-above.com will give you the location of the comet based on your geographic location.

    October 21, 2010 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. ufadoof

    That means lookin' at Sarah Palin right?
    I likw my women ignorant and with a touch of cras!
    You betcha!

    October 21, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lionel

    Hell yeah !!! Maybe we'll finally get to see some aliens !! haha

    October 21, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      you never know. lol, did you hear about our very first Space Ambassador. now when the et says take me to your leader, we have one to take them to. lol.

      October 21, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Pete

    Nice to read something that's not political.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. Allen Hill

    Everything created by Almighty GOD "Jesus Christ" is awesome. Go comets!

    October 21, 2010 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. doobee

    My eyes aren't naked. They're wearing a bra.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. olLIE

    "here's ollie williams with the blackyu weather forecast, hows the weather lookin up there?"


    October 21, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Brieske

    Where to start? First, I will reply to some of the comments made by people.
    me – Meet me anywhere, I have a knuckle sandwich for you..
    Rick – You minimize.
    Paige – Ever play Hide and Seek as a child? There is a common tactic used.
    I don"t know why I address you people.
    HMDQ – I didn't inject religion into the topic. Someone said the Earth would be destroyed. I explained why it would not be.
    Now you people can be impressed by a comet or asteroid passing but I find that to be diffucult. Because I can not be interested in them when UFOs are landing on and flying around our planet. I'm sorry, but the old waving of one hand to distract me trick, won't work.
    My sister and her friend saw a UFO at 11:15pm in Colorado while driving through a desolate area. It scared her so much that she called home to the Midwest. My sister knows many many influential wealthy people. Not that it matters, because if she says, they saw a UFO lift off and shoot up through the atmosphere then they saw it.
    Now I like to believe they are God's employees because if they are not then that possibly makes them enemies. I guess, either way many of you are in trouble. Finally some things are best saved for last...
    Kat – The world would be a much better place if people feared God. That philosophy is currently being implemented. Right now the number is 250,000 sent to Heaven, twice. A million was warned and China moved 1.4 million. Pakistan then moved 2 million.
    I don't believe in coincidences, nor should you. Plus you shouldn't allow yourself to be impressed by comets and asteroids when you have UFOs landing on and flying around your planet.
    Oh and lest I forget. I got angry at Will Davis because he said, God rides on dust. That angered me and why is a very long intelligent sequences of events that verify and prove. I am not telling a long story today.
    I apologize for getting angry with Will Davis. I must remember not to read comments when I am tired.

    October 21, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. Roger

    Awesome! CNN, thanks for reporting this on your Twitter feed !

    October 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jj

    Every religeous nut with an IQ over 75 can be silenced in shock wit a simple 10 word question...

    October 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jj

    ... However, I never post it in public. I have so many friends and family that revere many things and hold them sacred. There is nothing wrong with that. But when you call forth the destruction of my entire planet from the God you say you know, THAT'S when I wish to whisper this simple question in your ear...

    October 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jj

    Didnt think so...

    October 24, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
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