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The Leonard comet is about to move closer to Earth

The Leonard comet is about to move closer to Earth

The small, rocky, icy body, already nicknamed the Christmas Comet, will be visible to the naked eye in a few more days, and in a few more hours.

Now is the time to roll our eyes. Especially if you have a good binocular. Discovered using the 1.5 meter telescope of the Mount Lemon Survey in Arizona on January 3, 2021 (USA), the comet C / 2021 A1, named after the family name of its inventor, Greg Leonard, will go very close to Earth this Sunday. , December 12. This tiny rock and ice body will then be located 35 million kilometers from our planet, in the serpentine galaxy – more precisely the subdued Serpentarius (or Ophiuchus) – from the Boer galaxy.

Movement of comet C / 2021 A1 Leonard comet in the sky in the first half of December.
© IMCCE – Paris Observatory – PSL

The comet Leonard, which was expected to be the astronomical spectacle of this year’s final celebrations, was only 19 in size, less bright than Pluto last January, and has now reached size 6 or is roughly visible to the naked eye. In comparison, the size of the full moon is about – 12 and the size of the sun – 27. According to the comet NeoVise, in the summer of 2020 it moved closer to Earth and it reached the threshold of size 6. Clear to the naked eye, including the Paris area.

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