C / 2021 Leonard, the comet that ‘brushes’ the Earth, will be visible to the naked eye later this year

cometa Leonard

Every 80,000 years, the comet Leonard passes through Earth’s orbit, and in 2021 we will be lucky to see it.

Comets are distant visitors to the Solar System, extending beyond Neptune and taking tens of thousands, or even thousands of years, to complete one period around the Sun.

Therefore, observing a comet as it passes through the inner planets of our cosmic neighborhood A single incident It does not match a human life.

However, after seeing the NEOWISE comet in 2020, there will be another one for mankind A unique opportunity to observe one By the end of 2021: approx C / 2021 A1 Leonard, A comet visible to the naked eye was discovered earlier this year.

Also read: They discovered a mysterious object in the Solar System that acts like an asteroid and a comet at the same time.

The brightest comet of 2021

NEOWISE C / 2020 F3 comet from Earth. Photo: Getty Images

First seen by C / 2021 A1 Leonard January 3, 2021 From the Mount Lemon Observatory in Arizona, United States, the name of the astronomer who discovered it is Greg Leonard.

In the early observations of this astronomical object formed by dust, snow and rocks, it was a Pattom Long-term, That is, it comes from the Oort cloud, which has an orbit of about 80,000 years.

In January 2021, Leonard orbited Jupiter and Mars, orbiting the inner planets of the Solar System. The average speed is 70.6 km / h. Eleven months later, the comet will continue its orbit toward the center of the Solar System, reaching Mars’ orbit in the next few days and then approaching Earth.

Comet Leonard
Comet NEOWISE C / 2020 F3. Illustration: Getty Images

Leonard’s closest approach to our planet will occur next December 12, 2021 The comet is 34.9 million kilometers from Earth at 07:54 (Central Mexico time).

It will be possible if the weather conditions allow in the previous days Observe Leonard’s tail with the naked eye Before sunrise, get a broader view using binoculars.

Three weeks later, the C / 2021 A1 Leonard arrives Perihelion (Point of orbit closest to the Sun) On January 3, 2022, a journey that will not repeat itself for about 80,000 years will continue to travel to the edge of the Solar System.

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