An enormous “devil’s comet” described by astronomers as “huge” will pass close to Earth in 2024 for the first time in more than seven decades. Although officially named 12P/Pons-Brooks, It got its nickname from the formation of two “horns” made of ice and gas.
As the comet is unusually bright compared to others, experts have indicated that it will be visible from Earth with binoculars or even the naked eye in April next year.
Even if NASA called 12P/Pons-Brooks is a “near-Earth comet”, It is actually 70 times farther from Earth than our Moon and passes by Earth every 71 years.
Scientists estimate it to be between 17 and 30 kilometers in diameter. Mount Everest is close to 9 kilometers high, 12P/Pons-Brooks is three times higher.
How were the comet’s “devil horns” formed?
Most comets become hotter and brighter as they approach the Sun. The ice turns into gas and carries away dust, creating the traditional tail associated with comets.
12P/Pons-Brooks, however, experienced an enormous brightness increase Two major eruptions, the first in July 2023 and the other earlier this month.
According to the British Astronomical Society, this is the reason why it took the strange shape of a horned devil.
Several telescopes, including the Faulkes North Telescope on Maui, observed the explosion from the comet in July and this month, according to the BAA.
During the July outbreak, when The comet shed debris and appeared bright And according to Spaceweather.com, which reports on space news, it took the shape of the Millennium Falcon spacecraft from “Star Wars.”
According to Live Science, other observers thought the pointy rays of light coming from the round comet looked like devil horns.
When it can be seen better from Earth
comet It will pass close to the Sun on April 21 It will then pass close to Earth on June 2.
The comet is not normally visible, but that may change next year when a total solar eclipse passes over Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8, 2024.
Observers will have greater visibility during that event because it will be brighter and visible to the naked eye or through binoculars.
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