On December 16th, 2018, the comet 46P/Wirtanen will pass by the earth 11,680,000 km; 7,260,000 mi away! This comet is a small and short-period comet. It only has an orbital period of about 5.4 years.
It was first discovered in January 17th, 1948 by an astronomer from America. Carl A. Wirtanen worked for the Lick Observatory when he discovered the small comet, that took him over a year to recognize.
At this very moment, member of the Jupiter family of comets is approaching us to give us it’s best show, as this is the closest it’s ever passed the earth in over 4 decades. Though since 46P is not a large comet, it will be quite faint, with not much of a tail even. To put it in perspective, the 46P comet is only about one-tenth the size of the famous Halley’s Comet and one-thirtieth the size of Hale-Bopp.