HomeScience & TechComet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS to Illuminate Night Skies in October 2024

Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS to Illuminate Night Skies in October 2024

Sky gazers are in for a treat this year as Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS (C/2023 A3) is set to make its closest approach to the Sun on October 10, 2024. This spectacular event follows a series of other celestial phenomena, including solar storms and a notable eclipse.

According to Forbes, the comet, currently traveling between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, will be visible to the naked eye in October. Presently, it can only be observed using a large telescope. Experts are already dubbing it the “comet of the year,” and it is expected to shine as brightly as Venus in the night sky.

Originating from the Oort Cloud, a distant region of our solar system home to millions of comets, Comet A3 has an orbit of 80,000 years. It was jointly discovered in February last year by astronomers at the South African Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) and China’s Tsuchinshan Observatory.

The comet will be prominently visible in the northern hemisphere, and those in the southern hemisphere will catch a glimpse just after sunset. However, it will begin to dim around mid-October.

The Virtual Telescope Project, known for its live astronomy events, has posted an image of Comet A3 captured on May 5. The image shows the comet’s coma (or nucleus) and its evolving tail, influenced by the changing positions of the Sun, Earth, and the comet.

NASA describes comets as frozen remnants from the solar system’s formation, composed of dust, rock, and ice. As they approach the Sun, these celestial bodies heat up, releasing gases and dust that form a glowing head and a tail stretching millions of miles.

Prepare your telescopes and mark your calendars for this rare and dazzling event in October 2024!

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