A new cosmic show is coming for the skies of our planet. The kite Leonard discovered earlier this year, it is on its way to becoming “the brightest of 2021” As it approaches the Earth, they indicate various reports from astronomers who monitor the evolution and trajectory of this celestial body from the confines of the solar system.
It was discovered on January 3 by Greg Leonard from the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona, in the United States. After confirming the find, the comet received the name C / 2021 A1 (Leonard).
Recent observations with telescopes show that the comet is emitting an increasingly bright tail of dust and gas as it is approaching the Sun. The reason for this is that its components are frozen, and these evaporate as more arrives. star heat.
Its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) is expected to occur on January 3, 2022, but before that it will pass through the orbit of our planet, which will mean the best opportunity to observe it.
NASA reports that Comet Leonard will do its closest approach to Earth on December 12, 2021, at a distance of 34.9 million kilometers.
“It is predicted to be the brightest comet of the year. It should be visible with binoculars, and it could become observable with the naked eye! ”Says the US space agency.
It is still difficult to predict exactly how bright the comet will be, “because we do not know how much dust and gas it will emit (this can vary from day to day), which depends on the amount of sunlight that is scattered and reflected”, adds NASA.
According to estimates made by astronomers, Comet Leonard should reach a visual magnitude of between 5 and 2.6 (the lower, the brighter), which would make it distinguishable with the naked eye.
In a dark sky (without much illumination on the surface and not even from the Moon), stars up to a magnitude of 6 can be seen.
If the activity on the comet evolves as expected in the next few days, we will publish a detailed guide so you do not miss this astronomical event.