The massive “Devil’s Comet,” which astronomers describe as “huge,” will pass close to Earth in 2024 for the first time in more than seven decades. Although officially called 12P/Pons-Brooks, It got its nickname due to the formation of two “horns” made of ice and gas.
Experts pointed out that the comet is unusually bright compared to others, so it will be possible to see it in April next year from Earth with binoculars or even with the naked eye.
Although NASA called 12P/Pons-Brooks, a “near-Earth comet” It is actually about 70 times farther from Earth than our Moon and passes by Earth every 71 years.
Scientists estimated that its diameter ranged between 17 and 30 kilometers. Mount Everest is about 9 km high, making 12P/Pons-Brooks three times its height.
credit: British Astronomical Society
How were the comet’s “devil horns” created?
Most comets, as they approach the Sun, become warmer and brighter. The ice turns into gas and carries the dust that forms the traditional tail associated with comets.
However, the 12P/Pons-Brooks saw huge increases in brightness with Two major explosions, one in July 2023 and the other earlier this month.
According to the British Astronomical Society, this is the reason behind the strange appearance of the horned devil.
According to the BAA, several telescopes, including the Volksnorth telescope on Maui, observed explosions from the comet in July and again this month.
During the July explosion when The comet debris appeared brighter It appeared to take the shape of the Millennium Falcon spaceship from the “Star Wars” movie series, according to Spaceweather.com, which transmits space news.
Other observers believe that the pointed rays of light coming from the round comet look like devil’s horns, according to Live Science.
When can it be best seen from Earth?
Comet It will pass close to the sun around April 21 It will then pass close to Earth around June 2.
The comet is not usually visible, but that may change next year when a total solar eclipse occurs on April 8, 2024, and passes over Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
The greatest viewing time for viewers will be during this event because it will likely be brightest and visible with the naked eye or binoculars.
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