Father Christmas Flies Home

Christmas eve in the UK around 5:20pm, parents of young children and the children themselves were delighted by the powers of orbit. At 35 degrees on the horizon a bright light with a long trail could be seen across the sky. The International Space Station passed over Britain at just the right time to tell youngsters to behave on Christmas Eve, with perfectly festive timing Santa and his sleigh were visible.

The ISS passes by on Christmas Eve

Now on January 7th another festive flight will take place with the green comet ‘Lovejoy’  flying over skies in the Northern Hemisphere. Just a few hours after the final day of Christmas, hose in Spain may be tempted to point to the three kings heading home, but the green hue is a great excuse to claim Father Christmas is heading back to Lapland after a busy Holiday Period.

 

‘Lovejoy’ is named after Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy, it’s discovery in early December 2011 and it’s green colour led to an initial nickname of the ‘Great Christmas Comet’. The festive hue comes from molecules of diatomic carbon reacting with ultraviolet light, the blue tail on the other hand is due to fluorescing carbon monoxide. The comet will pass at 70million km from earth at around midnight, although it’s a school night this bright and colourful comet offers a great chance to enthuse kids in science for 2015.

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Sam Alvis

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