April 13, 2024

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A comet “larger than Mount Everest” will be visible to the naked eye in the coming weeks [videos]

A comet “larger than Mount Everest” will be visible to the naked eye in the coming weeks [videos]

A telescopic image of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks as it approaches the Crescent Nebula. Screenshot via YouTube @TheSkyAboveUs/

A comet larger than Mount Everest will be visible to the naked eye in the coming weeks It continues its first visit to the inner solar system in more than 70 years.

The icy object is a Halley-type comet, which means it will appear once, or perhaps twice, during the average person's lifetime. In fact, 12P/Pons-Brooks, as it is known, completes its orbit once every 71.3 years, and is scheduled to reach its closest approach to the Sun on April 21.

While some reports suggest that 12P/Pons-Brooks was observed as early as the 14th century, it is named after the French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons, who discovered it in 1812, and the British-American astronomer William Robert Brooks, who observed it in 1883. .

  • Believed to have a core around 30 kilometers in diameter, it is classified as a cold volcanic comet, meaning it explodes with dust, gases and ice when the pressure inside increases as it heats up.

One such outburst last year made it shine 100 times brighter than usual, earning it the name “Devil's Comet” after the surrounding nebula formed a horned shape.

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While the comet – and its green color – has already been spotted in the night sky, experts say it is expected to become brighter in the coming weeks.

  • Dr. Paul Stream, an astrophysicist at the University of Warwick in central England, said: “The comet is expected to have a magnitude of 4.5, which means it should be visible from a dark place in the United Kingdom.”

“The comet moves from the constellation Andromeda to the constellation Pisces. As it does so, it passes bright stars that make it easy to spot on certain dates. “Specifically, on March 31, 12P/Pons-Brooks will be just 0.5 degrees from The bright star called Hamal.

But even if the comet gets brighter, it will be harder to see, said Dr. Robert Macy, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, adding that basic instruments such as small telescopes would probably help a lot.

“If you have fairly decent binoculars, definitely try looking them up,” he said, adding that apps that map the sky are also useful for such views. He adds that those who want to catch a glimpse should go outside and look at the clear evening sky — and look to the west and northwest as twilight comes to an end. “You have to avoid fog, avoid moonlight, avoid light pollution.”

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With information from Watchman

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