HomeEconomyDevil Comet" 12P/Pons-Brooks to Grace Total Solar Eclipse in April

Devil Comet” 12P/Pons-Brooks to Grace Total Solar Eclipse in April

Stargazers are in for a rare treat this April as they may witness the breathtaking spectacle of the “devil comet” 12P/Pons-Brooks (12P) during the total solar eclipse. Known for its fiery displays, the comet is expected to make a close approach to the sun, potentially offering a dazzling show for skywatchers around the world.

First discovered by Jean-Louis Pons in 1812 and later independently rediscovered by William Robert Brooks in 1883, the comet 12P orbits the sun in a highly elliptical pattern approximately every 71 years. With a width of 17 kilometers, this Halley-type periodic comet is set to reach its maximum brightness in April and will make its closest approach to the Sun on April 21, followed by its nearest approach to Earth on June 2.

The “devil comet” occasionally erupts as radiation from the sun cracks open its icy shell, unleashing cryomagma—a blend of ice and gas—into space. These eruptions enhance the comet’s coma, the cloud of gas and dust surrounding its core, resulting in a brighter appearance that can captivate observers for several days.

While the comet’s brightness can be unpredictable, experts believe it may be visible to the naked eye, especially if it undergoes significant activity before the total solar eclipse on April 8. However, viewers may need binoculars or telescopes to catch a glimpse, given the comet’s variable luminosity.

The total solar eclipse itself promises to be a remarkable event, with the moon passing between Earth and the sun, casting a shadow and forming a path of totality. On April 8, 2024, this path is expected to be 115 miles wide, offering observers in Mexico, the United States, and Canada an opportunity to witness the celestial spectacle. The duration of totality is forecasted to be up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds, making it a must-see event for skywatchers worldwide.

As with any solar observation, precautions are essential to protect one’s eyesight. Skygazers are urged to wear certified eclipse glasses during the partial phases of the eclipse to avoid potential eye damage.

While the next total solar eclipse in the United States isn’t until August 12, 2045, the impending celestial rendezvous with the “devil comet” offers a unique chance to witness nature’s grandeur and marvel at the wonders of the universe.

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