You aren't the person in your social group who can point out the astrophysical errors in the movie Contact. Let's say you are able to spot the Big Dipper on a dark night. "Hey, what was the deal with that comet people were talking about the other day?" is a question you should be asking yourself. Is that still there?

The K2 came closest to Earth on July 14 at a distance of about 168 million miles. Earth is waving goodbye to the comet as it leaves as it gets closer to the sun. If you own or can borrow, you can still see the comet if it moves in a direction that will take it closer to the sun.

What is C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS)? 

The comet is thought to have started in the Oort cloud, a collection of ice and rocks that travel past the last planets in the solar system. We can only assume that the Oort cloud is there because the chunks are too small to see with a telescope.

When the sun's gravity pulls one of these chunks out of its comfort zone in the Oort cloud and into our general neighborhood, it's show time. When the sun's rays cause comets to release gases, that's how they get their telltale glow, and sometimes become visible to the naked eye.

The K2 comet is unique in that it is the first comet to enter our solar system. Since it would mean high concentrations of gas to be expelled, its gassy halo is even bigger and brighter.

Does that mean this comet is headed toward Earth? 

According to our research, internet users who are searching for information about this comet are also looking to see if it will kill us all. There is a short answer to that question. There is a chance that this comet will collide with Earth. It was discovered by the comet spotters at the Hawaii-based Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS), and that outpost is one of Earth's watchful sentries, making sure no deadly "near- Earth objects" take us by. It wasn't flagged as a potential hazard.

So how do I see this comet?

It may take some trial and error if you are new to this. If you can see the comet with your telescope, you will be very lucky.

When you can see the stars, start looking for the constellation Ophiuchus. The comet will be a small speck in this constellation when you find it. Sky has an interactive sky chart that you can use to rehearse this. You should be able to find a star cluster with the help of a star chart. If you look closely, you'll see a cluster that looks like it spells the word "hi"

If you want the sky to be as dark as possible, look just before the moon rises, or wait until the new moon. Figuring out what works for you is important.

C/2017 K2 is moving less than the diameter of the full moon each night from our vantage point on Earth. Looking up, down, and all around will help you spot it. If you have a strong telescope, you can see the comet's tail, but if you have a weaker telescope, it will look like a fuzzy ball.

Since comets are unpredictable, there is always the chance that as it increases its proximity to the sun from now until December, some unknown chemical reaction on the comet itself will cause it to be brighter. It can be seen without a telescope if it becomes so bright that it becomes visible. You have until the end of the summer to see it, according to most sources.