News Channel 10.- This 2021 will close with a flourish, and that isKite LeonardIt will soar through the skies, illuminating the night sky with its trail of light, and it will be visible to the naked eye before the end of the year.
El comet C / 2021 A1,better known ascometa Leonard, by the name of its discovererGregory J. Leonard, will reach its closest point to Earth the nextDecember 12 at 07:54 Mexico City time. Here we tell you everything you need to know.
Where and when to see the “Christmas comet”?
Popularly called as“Christmas kite”due to its proximity to the December dates, theComet Leonard will be visible during the first two weeks of December,a couple of hours before sunrise, in the east-northeast sky. Following a path through the constellations “Coma Berenices”, “Boötes” and “Serpens Caput”,secures the specialized siteSpace.com.
In thedays before December 12, it will be possible to observe Leonard’s tail with the naked eye or with the help of binoculars before dawn, as long as the weather conditions allow it.
After December 12 andduring the second half of DecemberAs the comet approaches the Sun, it will gradually be absorbed by the dawn light and eventually disappear from view.
Subsequently, theComet Leonard will be hidden by the bright sun glare, rapidly moving away from both the Sun and Earth until January 3, 2022, when it will rapidly disappear.
Can it be seen with the naked eye?
Yes; According to specialists, the current expectation is thatthe comet could reach a brightness of fourth magnitude, making it bright enough to be seen without optical aid in a dark sky.
This is due to the closeness it will have with both the Earth and the Sun, sinceon December 12 it will pass less than 34.9 million kilometers from Earth, and theJanuary 3, 2022, exactly one year after the discovery, it will pass within 92 million kilometers from the Sun.
“The best we can hope for is a comet modestly bright to the naked eye that will be available to anyone who wants to get up before sunrise during the mornings in early and mid-December.”showSpace.com.
Will it be the brightest comet and will it be seen on Earth again?
Various sites ensure thatComet Leonard will be a “once in a lifetime” showand this is true, as long as the celestial bodycan never be seen again, since once it goes around the sun, it will be expelled from the solar system.
As for the brightness,the website states that“It will not be exceptional, although it may be greater compared to other bodies.” However, it also indicates that comets are unpredictable.
What is known about Comet Leonard?
El Comet Leonard, or C / 2021 A1 Leonard, was first seen on January 3, 2021from the Mount Lemmon Observatory, in Arizona, United States; and its name comes from its discoverer, Greg Leonard.
In accordance withSpace.com, Leonard’s orbit shows that it is not a “new” celestial bodyand that it comes from the Oort cloud, an icy layer around the solar system where comets appear to originate before circling the Sun and experiencing the effects of sunlight for the first time.
It is also known thatComet Leonard travels in a closed orbitand it probably visited the vicinity of the Sun at least once before, some 70,000 to 80,000 years ago.
Orbital calculations revealed that the object had spent the last 35 thousand years heading towards the Sun
Sources assure that in January 2021, when it was discovered,Leonard was between the orbit of Jupiter and Marsand it was heading towards the inner planets of the Solar System at an average speed of 70.6 kilometers per second.
According to estimates, during the next few days this bright body will reach the orbit of Mars, and then approach Earth.