The “Devil Comet,” officially known as 12P/Pons-Brooks, is a massive comet that is currently approaching Earth. Here’s what we know.
The exact size of the comet is difficult to determine, but it is estimated to be on the larger end of the scale for comets. It could be as large as 5 km, 10 km, or 20 km, which is about twice the size of Mount Everest or the length of Manhattan. The solid part of the comet, or its nucleus, is estimated to be about 12.4 miles across, roughly twice the size of Mount Everest. In July, the comet experienced explosive outbursts that created two tails of gas and dust, giving it the appearance of horns.
The “Devil Comet” was first discovered in 1812 before it was spotted again in 1883, according to reports.
The 12P/Pons-Brooks comet was last visible from Earth in 1953, making its current approach a rare event. Astronomers are particularly excited about this comet because it is known to exhibit erratic outbursts, which provide opportunities for further observation and study.
The comet is no threat to Earth, but it offers an exciting opportunity for people to observe a rare giant. While it is unlikely to be seen by the naked-eye, its brightness may make it visible with binoculars or a camera. However, the brightness of comets can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to follow updates from astronomers in the months leading up to its planned appearance.
The comet will be at its brightest next year in mid-April, when it will be roughly 232 million kilometers, or 144,158,116 miles, away from Earth.
The 12P/Pons-Brooks comet’s size, rarity, and erratic behavior has made it a focus of interest for scientists. Studying its composition, behavior, and outbursts can provide valuable insights into the nature and evolution of comets in our solar system.