Amateur astronomers urged to take photos of comet passing earth to help Reading researchers

The comet is expected to be visible until the end of March. Credit: Damian Peach

Scientists from Reading University need help from amateur astronomers to take photos of a comet that's passing Earth.

The comet will be visible using a telescope until the end of March.

Researchers are appealing for photos they can use to track the comet's journey through the solar system.

These will be used to help collect data on solar wind conditions - and improve the forecasts of space weather.

Researchers are reassuring people that the Comet doesn't pose any danger to Earth, and is about the same distance from our planet as we are from the sun.

Scientists say the images will help to improve forecasts of space weather. Credit: Gerald Rhemann

Sarah Watson, the University of Reading PhD researcher leading the project, said: “What we are expecting to see may look rather unusual.

"When we talk about comets, people often think of a large, bright sphere followed by a long thin tail.

“The comet we are observing may look different as its tail could ‘detach’ as it is buffeted by solar winds.

“We need lots of timed photos of the comet to build up a picture of its journey through our solar system.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for amateur astronomers to get out their telescopes, capture a truly spectacular cosmic moment and make a big contribution to some important science.”  

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Scientists say the comet has been visible in the UK night sky from Wednesday, 14 February, but will be easier for astronomers to spot in the coming weeks as it appears further away from the sun and stays above the horizon in the night sky for longer.

Stargazers will need a small telescope which they can attach a camera or a camera with a big lens to capture the comet.

It is expected to be in view until the end of March.

Data and images should be sent to and the best photographs will be sent to the British Astronomical Association to be archived.