As a huge comet makes its closest approach to Earth on July 13, you might be curious why it's so hard to spot.
Comets are remnants from the early days of the solar system, billions of years ago. Primarily made of ice and dust, these "dirty snowballs" orbit the sun and in habit the Oort cloud, an area in the outskirts of the solar system beyond Pluto. As comets approach the inner solar system, solar wind from the sun can sweep dust back into a long tail. When these comets are close enough to Earth, they can appear as dazzling objects in the night sky. Space probes from Earth have visited several comets to learn more about their composition. Learn more about comets, icy wanderers in the solar system.
Comet C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), called K2 for short, is one of the farthest active comets ever spotted and will whizz by our planet on July 13.
A megacomet glows in the dark in this long-exposure image captured by an astrophotographer on June 18, before its closest approach to Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope's powerful infrared instruments will be trained on three types of comets, potentially providing insight into the solar system's early life.
A comet first spotted in the distance in 2017 might finally be within view soon of amateur astronomers.
Telescopes watch as a comet disintegrates near the sun, gathering data that might help explain why some comets seem to disappear.
Europe's Comet Interceptor probe will lurk in space, waiting for a pristine interstellar comet to zoom by.
The dust trail from the largest comet outburst on record will be visible to amateur astronomers in late July 2022.
"Shooting stars" from a new meteor shower lit up the night sky in a dazzling display, even if it wasn't a "meteor storm" some stargazers hoped for.
If you're hoping to see the potential tau Herculids meteor shower, NASA advises you to check the weather and be ready for the unexpected.
A potential meteor shower may emerge from Hercules tonight (May 31-31). Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed.
Occasionally, Earth runs through a particularly narrow, dense clump of debris, resulting in a meteor storm.
This weekend, Earthlings might be treated to the sight of a new meteor shower. Astronomers certainly hope it happens.
A blast of new meteors may emerge during a tau Herculid meteor shower on May 30 and 31, but that's not a sure thing.
Dust particles produced by the largest comet outburst ever detected will be visible even to amateur ground-based telescopes this summer, a study found.
The tau Herculids from comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann which began to fragment in 1995 may make an appearance on the night of May 30-31.
May offers an unusual skywatching bounty: the possibility of two major celestial highlights occurring within the span of a single month.
Thirty alien comets have been spotted transiting the young star Beta Pictoris, their long tails lighting up the skies of the fledgling planets forming there.