Stargazers have something extra to look forward to this holiday season: The brightest comet of 2018 will pass closest to Earth on Dec. 16.
The comet 46P/Wirtanen, which passes Earth every 5.4 years, was one of three comets discovered by Carl Wirtanen in 1948 at the Lick Observatory in California, NBC News reported. This orbit will be one of the closest comet orbits to Earth since the 1950s, according to Space.com.
Comets are "loosely bound masses of ice, dust and rock." The central core of the structure is often only a few miles across. These cosmic phenoms usually have tails that are a result of the dust and gases that are spewed when comets heat up as they near the sun. Currently, NASA reports that there are 3,535 known comets.
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AP Photo/Allen G. Breed
A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday — causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people.
Accidents on snow-covered interstates caused major delays, hundreds of flights were canceled and drivers in North Carolina and Virginia got stuck in snow or lost control on icy patches. Meanwhile, kids and the young at heart took advantage of the early winter snow with snowball fights, sledding and snowmen.
Police in North Carolina and Virginia said they'd responded to hundreds of snow-related traffic accidents as of Sunday afternoon, as cars, trucks and tractor-trailers all struggled with the snow and ice.
Pressure mounted on French President Emmanuel Macron to announce concrete measures to calm protests marked by violence when he addresses the nation Monday evening, and breaks a long silence widely seen as aggravating a crisis that has shaken the government and the whole country.
The president will consult in the morning with an array of national and local officials as he tries to get a handle on the ballooning and radicalizing protest movement triggered by anger at his policies, and a growing sense that they favor the rich.
Macron will speak from the presidential Elysee Palace at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), an Elysee official said. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File
South Carolina's congressional delegation will be able to ask for more funds to provide relief following Hurricane Florence, thanks to a move by the state's governor.
In a letter obtained Saturday by The Associated Press, Gov. Henry McMaster told U.S. Rep. Tom Rice that he was increasing the estimate for community development block grant relief from $108 million to $435 million at Rice's request.
Thousands of residents along the coasts of North and South Carolina were evacuated as Florence slowly swirled in the Atlantic Ocean in September. As the storm gradually came ashore near the border of the two states, Florence dumped days' worth of rain on the Carolinas, leaving widespread flooding in which dozens of people were killed.
National Park Service
He survived the flames of Southern California's Woolsey Fire that ripped through his habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains, but a mountain lion known as P-64 has now been found dead of unknown causes, National Park Service officials said Friday.
P-64, who was dubbed the "Culvert Cat" for repeatedly using a culvert to cross the Ventura (101) Freeway in the Liberty Canyon area, was found dead Monday by a biologist tracking his movements using information from the lion's GPS collar.
NPS officials said a cause of death was unknown, but P-64's paws were "visibly burned."