Giant Demon Comet’s. Astronomers have exciting news: a colossal “demon” comet is gearing up to make its first appearance near Earth in over seven decades. What’s even more remarkable is that you won’t need a telescope to witness this cosmic show – a good pair of binoculars or even just your unaided eyes will do the trick!
This particular comet, officially known as 12P/Pons-Brooks, has earned its “Demon Comet” moniker for good reason. But what’s the story behind its ominous name?
Unmasking the “Demon” Comet
Comets are essentially cosmic snowballs composed of dust, frozen gases, ices, and rocks, remnants from the early days of our solar system. When they approach the Sun, comets light up as their surfaces heat, causing ices to transform into gases and releasing dust. This spectacle is what gives comets their characteristic tails.
What sets the “Demon Comet” apart is its extraordinary brightness, far outshining its celestial counterparts. This extraordinary luminosity is a result of two significant outbursts that occurred in July and October of 2023.
Researcher at Arizona’s Lowell Observatory
Dr. Theodore Kareta, a researcher at Arizona’s Lowell Observatory, points out that few comets experience multiple outbursts within a single orbit, making 12P/Pons-Brooks a rarity. These outbursts dramatically boost its brightness, making it visible not only through professional telescopes but also with the naked eye from your own backyard.
The “Demon” moniker comes from the peculiar appearance of a hazy cloud within the comet’s nucleus, resembling a pair of horns. This cloud, a product of the comet’s multiple outbursts, adds to the mystique.
Historically, the comet received its name from two astronomers, Jean-Louis Pons, who discovered it in 1812, and William Robert Brooks in 1883.
No Cosmic Threat
Despite its foreboding name and substantial size, 12P/Pons-Brooks poses no danger to Earth or humanity. This celestial wanderer last graced our skies in 1954 when scientists estimated its diameter to be at least 17 kilometers.
Mark your calendars for June 2, 2024, as this is when the “Demon Comet” will put on its celestial show. Its trajectory will take it across Mexico, the United States, and Canada, offering stargazers a prime opportunity to relish this cosmic spectacle.
To catch a glimpse of 12P/Pons-Brooks, you’ll need nothing more than a clear, cloudless night. With unobstructed skies, you can fully appreciate the breathtaking beauty of this extraordinary comet using either binoculars or just your unaided eyes. Enjoy the cosmic display!