Comet Siding Spring will pass close to Mars today, Sunday, October 19, at 18:32 UTC. The comet will come within 139,500 km (87,000 miles) of the Red Planet, which is sixteen times closer to Mars than any known comet has ever come to Earth. About 100 minutes after the closest approach, the densest part of the comet’s tail will pass Mars’ location. You can watch live below courtesy of Slooh, ESA and the Virtual Telescope, below:
Slooh will feature two shows. The first show, billed “Close Call – Comet Siding Spring Zips by Mars,” will start at 11:15 AM PDT / 2:15 PM EDT / 18:15 UTC – International times here where Slooh will track Comet Siding Spring on close-approach live from South Africa and later from the Canary Islands. The second show, billed “Comet Siding Spring – the Outcome” will start at 5:30 PM PDT / 8:30 PM EDT / 00:30 UTC (10/20) – International times here – where Slooh will continue to track the comet live from Slooh’s southern observatory located at the Catholic University (PUC) – both shows will feature expert commentary by esteemed astrobiologist David Grinspoon and Slooh host Geoff Fox. The latter show will feature a special discussion with Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, who will be on location in Chile. Viewers can ask questions during each show by using hashtag #SloohComet.
Here’s ESA’s livestream:
Also, Gianluca Masi’s Virtual Telescope: streaming begins Sunday, Oct. 19 at 11:45 a.m. CDT (16:45 UT)