The American Southwest provides some of the best stargazing and opportunities for comet viewing in the country. Looking to the night sky from a houseboat on a lake, far from street lamps and illuminated buildings, is breathtaking while innumerable stars blanket the sky and the arms of the Milky Way stretch out like wispy clouds. This February, if you know what to look for, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see a comet from one of our Forever Houseboats with nothing but a pair of binoculars.
What is a Comet?
We all learned about comets in our early science classes, but years later most of us don’t remember exactly what a comet is aside from a stunning streak of light across the sky. One of the easiest ways to envision a comet is to think of a snowball flying through the sky. A comet is made up of large chunks of ice and rock. Most of the comets we observe circle the sun, in their own orbital path. As they get closer to the sun, some of the ice begins to melt. The comet’s tail, the impressive streak of light across the sky, is actually a gaseous tail of melting ice.
Does this Comet Have a Name?
Scientists name all the comets they discover, but not all of them are as easily memorable as Halley’s Comet. Right now, the comet visible in the sky is named Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova. Abbreviated to Comet 45P/H-M-P, this comet was discovered in 1948 and is viewable from the earth approximately every 5 years.
How Can I See It?
In 2017, the best chance to see this bright comet streaking through the sky will be just before dawn in February. It should be easily visible with binoculars in the western sky over Nevada and Arizona.
Come experience the wonder of nature, both above and below, with a Forever Houseboat rental. Don’t miss your chance to see a comet from a houseboat. Contact us to book your houseboat rental today.