Massive ‘Devil Comet’ Approaching Earth After 71 Years – Lighting Up During Solar Eclipse

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Next month’s total solar eclipse will offer a rare spectacle as the “devil comet,” not seen in 71 years, becomes visible to observers on Earth.

This comet, known scientifically as 12P/Pons-Brooks, is distinguished by its cryovolcanic activity, creating two distinctive “horn”-like features from ice and gas emissions, accompanied by periodic bursts.

NASA explains that comets are ancient celestial bodies, amalgamations of dust, frozen gases, ice, and rocks from the early solar system. The “devil comet” is nearing its perihelion, its closest approach to the sun, expected to occur on April 21, making it exceptionally bright. This event coincides with the total solar eclipse on April 8, which will darken skies from Texas to Maine as the moon passes between Earth and the sun.

The eclipse’s darkness provides a prime viewing condition for celestial enthusiasts to spot stars, planets, and potentially the 12P/Pons-Brooks comet as it traverses the solar system. The comet is due for its closest encounter with Earth on June 2, offering another viewing opportunity, though its brightness may diminish due to its increased distance from the sun. With an orbital period of 71 years, similar to the famous Halley’s comet, 12P/Pons-Brooks was last seen in 1954.

The comet, with a diameter of at least 17 kilometers (about 10.5 miles), experienced a dramatic increase in brightness in July 2023, becoming 100 times brighter and showcasing its volatile nature through several explosive events.

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