To celebrate the holiday season and get yourself into the spirit for the ‘Christmas comet,’ which is known as Comet 46P/Wirtanen, the time has come to snuggle up with your favorite blanket in front of the fire and watch the 1984 cult classic film Night of the Comet.
As Fox News Denver reportS, while Comet 46P/Wirtanen made its first appearance in November, it will be at its most dramatic this weekend when it roars by Earth on its closest approach on Sunday, December 16, making itself very visible even without binoculars. At that point, this Christmas comet will only be seven million miles away from Earth, which is astonishingly close, and it won’t be this near to us again for 20 years.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen was named after its discoverer Carl Wirtanen, who first spotted it in 1948, when he was working at California’s Lick Observatory. To find the Christmas comet in the night sky, Brad Tucker of the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics explained that all you need to do is look in the eastern sky around Orion, and there you will find the dazzling green ball of light flashing against the deep blackness of space.
“Look towards the east with a small pair of binoculars or a telescope to see the green, fuzzy comet. It will be near the constellation Orion, or the saucepan.”
If for some reason you are unable to observe it in the sky, you can always view it from the Virtual Telescope Project as well.
#31DaysOfHorror #21 - Night of the Comet (1984) dir. T. Eberhardt— Edward Sweet (@EdwardSweet10) October 23, 2018
A stylish, cheesy post-apocalyptic romp with kick-ass female leads, a rarity in this kind of film, and really clever music choices. Imagine ‘I Am Legend’ but a lot less bleak and a whole lot more 80s. pic.twitter.com/2Tl2lQxb5r
With Christmas fast approaching in combination with the Christmas comet, this is also the perfect opportunity to get in some viewing of the film Night of the Comet, which was directed by Thom Eberhard and stars Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Sharon Farrell, Robert Beltran, and Michael Bowen. With Bowen having also played the stereotypical Valley ‘dude’ in Valley Girl, the apocalyptic Night of the Comet could almost be considered an extension of this classic 1980s film, albeit much darker, stranger and funnier.
Night of the Comet was first released on November 16, 1984 and chronicles what happens on Earth when a comet is due to to pass by just 11 days before Christmas. In the film, the last time a comet made such a close approach it sent dinosaurs into extinction, and Earthlings all over the world are beside themselves with excitement to witness the spectacle of the Christmas comet, with most stepping outside to view it for themselves. Unfortunately for them, as soon as the comet whizzes by they are all obliterated and turned to dust, with the smoggy 1980s skies of Los Angeles taking on an eerie, red, Mars-like appearance after the event.
With very few people having survived the approach of the comet, it is up to valley girl sisters Regina and Sam to completely reorient themselves to a new way of life that is filled with deranged zombies and a few sick scientists who have taken refuge in an underground shelter that also serves as a research facility.
With Comet 46P/Wirtanen due to make its closest approach on Sunday, Night of the Comet certainly deserves some consideration and may just be the perfect way to celebrate the upcoming holidays in combination with the very special Christmas comet.