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Comet Leonard runs towards Earth - can it be seen with the naked eye?

Comet Leonard runs towards Earth – can it be seen with the naked eye?

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Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) is approaching Earth very fast, and soon it will be visible to the naked eye. What you need to know about care.

  • Of Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) Discovered in January 2021 and coming close to Earth on December 12, 2021.
  • It was visible to the naked eye in the first half of December.
  • To do this, it must be bright enough that it is always difficult to predict comets.

Updated from 9am on Friday, December 3, 2021: In astronomy, the adage “Comets are like cats: they have tails and they do what they want” applies, indicating that it is difficult to predict the brightness of a comet. However, so far, the comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) has partially stuck with predictions and can already be seen in binoculars or a small telescope. With its close access to Earth on December 12, it could reach size 4 and then be visible to the naked eye in the dark sky. However, the comet Leonard 2020 is unlikely to be as bright and impressive as the summer comet Neovis.

Leonard must wake up early in the morning to see the comet in the sky. Currently, the comet rises in the east at 2 am and rises in the sky. If you want to see it, you have to wait until Leonard comes out of the fog near the horizon – it is recommended to watch it before the sun rises, because the comet is as high as possible in the sky. Can be easily seen. Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) is currently located near the clear star Arcturus in the Pierre Guardian galaxy.

Comet Leonard is moving fast: at 254,412 kilometers per hour it is currently orbiting the Earth – but no danger: on December 12, 2021, when it gets very close to Earth, there is a distance between the comet Leonard and the blue light. A planet with 34.4 million kilometers.

Comet Neovise (C / 2020 F3) was visible to the naked eye in the summer of 2020. Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) may come after him in the winter of 2021. (Archive image)

© imago / Cavan Images

Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) approaches the Sun and Earth

Updated Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 4.15pm: Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) is currently approaching the Sun; On January 3, 2022, it reached its perihelion at the farthest point from the Sun. Before that, it should be very noticeable in the sky. Now that its size is 7, you can look through binoculars or a small telescope when the sky is clear. The comet is currently in the constellation “Hor der Perenike” and is headed for the “Hunting Dogs”, “Bear Guardians”, “Snake” and “Snake Bearer” constellations. On December 12, it reached its closest point on Earth – about 34.4 million kilometers away.

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How the comet will form in the future will determine whether the naked eye can see the sky. Recently, it has grown well and its brightness has increased by several sizes. In the pictures you can see it has a green center and a soft tail. Experts estimate that the comet Leonard will reach size 4 – then it will be visible in the sky with the naked eye.

Name C / 2021 A1 Leonard
Celestial bodies comet
Discovery January 3, 2021 Greg J. Leonard
Perihelion (closest to the sun) 0.6151 AU Morning 3.01.2022
Very close approach to the earth 0.233 AU Morning 12.12.2021

Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) is already significantly brighter

Friday, November 26, 2021 Updated from 8.40pm: The comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) continues its orbit in the night sky and has become significantly brighter compared to the beginning of November. It is now estimated by observers to be between 7 and 8 – that is, it can be seen in the sky with a telescope or small telescope. Comet Leonard is currently in the “Hor der Perenike” and galaxy NGC4656 and is moving in the direction of the “Bear Guardian” galaxy. On December 6, Leonard’s comet is close to the orbiter, so it’s easy to find.

If you want to observe the comet Leonard, you should be prepared to stay awake for a long time or wake up early in the morning: the comet only rises in the northwest at midnight and rises in the sky during the night. Although the comet Leonard is sometimes called the “Christmas Comet” by some, the name is misleading: the comet reaches its nearest point to the Sun (called the Perihelion) on December 12. Northern Hemisphere. The best observation period is actually before December 12, 2021.

Comet Leonard: Not a “Christmas comet”, but perhaps a heavenly spectacle

First Report Sunday, November 7, 2021 at 8:22 pm: Frankfurt – The comet that can be seen with the naked eye in the sky does not often occur. Only one comet in recent years falls into this category: Comet Neovis (C / 2020 F3) is visible to the naked eye for some time in the summer of 2020 and in very dark skies. But soon there may be an heir: Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) Currently being meticulously observed by astronomers – it has the potential to become bright enough. But you should not be happy too soon – because it is very difficult to assess the behavior of comets.

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Comet Leonard was the first comet to be discovered in 2021: it was first discovered on January 3, 2021 by astronomer Greg J at the Mount Lemon Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. Discovered by Leonard. At the time, the comet was about 750 million kilometers from the Sun. On January 3, 2022, its orbit will be very close to the Sun, known as the Perihelion.

Leonard is 92.2 million kilometers from the Sun. Even before that, the US space agency NASA estimates that the comet Leonard will be closest to Earth on December 12, 2021 at 2:54 pm German time – about 35 million kilometers.

Comet Neovise (C / 2020 F3) was visible to the naked eye in the summer of 2020. Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) may come after him in the winter of 2021. (Archive image)

© imago / Cavan Images

Comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) visible to the naked eye in November / December 2021

How bright the Leonard comet will be in November and December 2021 will only be known over time. According to the estimates of the “Earthsky” portal, a brightness between size 5 and 2.6 is considered. If this value is low, the object can be viewed brightly.

But the behavior of comets is generally considered unpredictable, making it very difficult to predict how the brightness of comet Leonard will develop. For example, the comet Atlas was thought to be optimistic in 2020 – and it broke before it could perform in the sky. In 2013 something similar happened to the comet Ison, which crashed in close proximity to the Sun.

How to find the Leonard comet in the night sky

If the Leonard comet is visible to the naked eye, it is visible first in the northern hemisphere and then in the southern hemisphere. The comet travels at a speed of 254,412 kilometers per hour – but because Leonard is so far away from Earth it cannot see “race” in the sky.

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One thing is for sure: if you want to see a comet in the sky, you have to notice it early in the morning. In mid-November, the comet Leonard orbits in the “Hor der Perenike” galaxy, rising at about 1.30 in the east. On December 2, the comet is seen very close to the globular cluster M3, and then moves toward the brightest star in the galaxy, “Bear Guardian”.

The comet was able to see Leonard through a telescope in mid-November

The special magazine “Sky & Telescope” estimates that the comet could reach magnitude 10 in mid-November – a brightness that is still invisible to the naked eye, but can already be seen through small telescopes. By the time the comet Leonard Arcturus approaches the star, it may have reached a magnitude of 5.5, thus becoming an object that can be blurred by the naked eye.

In the Northern Hemisphere, you can see the last view of the comet in the morning sky on December 12, 2021 – just before its theoretically greatest brightness. It was visible deep in the southwest sky at dusk. Visitors to the Southern Hemisphere also now have the opportunity to see the comet.

Comets “dirty snowballs” from the depths of space

Comets come from the depths of space, and they contain dust and rocks bound together by ice. When a comet approaches the Sun, ice melts, dust and rocks are released – the characteristic comet’s tail is formed. The brightness of the comet Leonard (C / 2021 A1) is very difficult to predict: no one can accurately predict how the comet will react to rising temperatures – it will become very active, but how active? No one can predict it at a reliable time.

Comets – nickname: “Cosmic Snowballs” – are particularly interested in research because they are considered messengers from the depths of the universe. According to NASA estimates, the comet Leonard comes from the outer Solar System and has been moving for more than 550 billion kilometers toward the center of the Solar System for 40,000 years. According to NASA, once he reaches its perihelion, he will be ejected from the solar system. So the 2021/2022 winter is the last chance to see the comet Leonard.

Recently, two researchers accidentally discovered the largest comet known to date. It is on its way to the center of the solar system, and by 2031 it should reach its point closest to the Sun. (Tanja banner)

Rubriklistenbild: © imago / Cavan Images