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The “Devil’s Comet” is heading towards Earth.  It is bigger than Mount Everest

The “Devil’s Comet” is heading towards Earth. It is bigger than Mount Everest

The “Devil’s Comet” will soon approach Earth and will probably be so bright that we can see it with the naked eye. But why the “devil’s comet”?

The “Devil’s Comet” will approach Earth again after 70 years. The comet was discovered by astronomer Jean-Louis Pons in July 1812. William Robert Brooks then saw it as it approached the Sun again in September 1883 and proved that it was the same object. The official name of the comet 12P/Pons-Brooks comes from the names of two astronomers. But why the “devil’s comet”?

Why “Devil’s Comet”? NASA reassures us, the object is not that scary

At the end of July 2023, an icy volcano on the comet’s surface ejected huge amounts of gas, dust and ice. The unexpected eruption caused the object to brighten rapidly, and its coma, i.e. dust and gas envelope, acquired a characteristic shape resembling horns.

The American space agency NASA reassured that despite the dangerous name, the “devil’s comet” does not pose any threat to us. 12P/Pons-Brooks On April 21, 2024, it will pass near the Sun at a distance of approximately 0.78 au (astronomical unit – 1 au is the distance of the Earth from the Sun), which is close to the distance between the Sun and Venus. Then, on June 2, according to NASA calculations, it will approach the Earth at a distance of approximately 232 million km, or approximately 1.55 AU. Due to its very high brightness, it should be clearly visible from Earth, even with the naked eye.

The “Devil’s Comet” is several times larger than Mount Everest

In 2020, based on the brightness of the “Devil’s Comet”, it was estimated that the object has a diameter of about 17 kilometers, which is several times larger than Mount Everest. However, the scientists cautioned that their calculations may have been inaccurate. It was very difficult to determine exactly where the comet’s core ends and where the dust and gas envelope begins. The upcoming passage of the “Devil’s Comet” may be a good opportunity to make more precise measurements.

Source: Gazeta

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