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Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks seen on 5 March close to Tromsø, Norway

Bernt Olsen

One of many brightest identified comets is heading in the direction of Earth, and it might be seen to the bare eye within the coming weeks. Comply with our information to identify comet 12P/Pons-Brooks for your self.

When will the comet be seen?

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks takes 71 years to orbit the solar, throughout which era it flies to the outer edges of the photo voltaic system and again once more. On this event, it’s going to attain its perihelion – its closest method to the solar – on 21 April. The comet will then proceed getting nearer to Earth, reaching its nearest on 2 June at 232 million kilometres away.

What’s the finest time to search for the comet?

Though will probably be nearer to Earth in June, the perfect time to see the comet within the northern hemisphere will likely be through the coming weeks, because the lighter evenings will stop it from being seen after the top of April. By June, it’s going to solely be seen within the southern hemisphere.

The place within the sky will the comet seem?

12P/Pons-Brooks will transfer via the night time sky into the constellation Pisces from the constellation Andromeda, the place it’s at the moment sitting slightly below the brilliant star Mirach. By the top of March, it’s going to transfer into the constellation Aries. It’s predicted to succeed in magnitude 5, which suggests it needs to be seen to the bare eye from locations with darkish skies, or via binoculars.

How can I see the comet?

It’s best to plan forward. Use stargazing software program such as Stellarium to determine precisely the place the comet will likely be seen on the date and on the time you hope to see it. Within the northern hemisphere, the comet will likely be close to the horizon simply after sundown and can set earlier as March goes on. By the top of the month, it’s going to set a few hours after sundown, so it’s best to look as quickly because it will get darkish.

What does the comet seem like?

The nucleus of 12P/Pons-Brooks is about 30 kilometres throughout, and like all comets, it’s going to seem to have a vibrant centre with a tail behind it. Sightings of this specific comet date again to at the least 1385, when Chinese language and European astronomers recorded seeing it.

Can I see comet 12P/Pons-Brooks through the photo voltaic eclipse?

In case you are fortunate sufficient to be within the path of totality for the entire photo voltaic eclipse on 8 April, you may be capable to spot the comet in between the solar and Jupiter, which is able to seem above and to the left of the solar, through the 4 minutes when the moon is obstructing the entire solar’s mild.

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