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Christmas Comet

  • By Admin
  • December 13, 2021

On December 12, did you get to see the “Christmas Comet” (Comet Leonard – C/2021 A1) during predawn?

Leonard has been called the “Christmas comet” and was closest to Earth on December 12 (21,687,279 miles away), but you may be able to spot it in the days before and after — though the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to see before it leaves our solar system.

Look in the eastern sky, just before sunrise as it passes between Arcturus — the fourth-brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest in the northern constellation of Boötes — and the handle of the Big Dipper.

It could be as spectacular as comet Neowise was in 2020, and skywatchers may be able to see the Christmas comet with small telescopes or binoculars.

“There’s a chance it could be bright enough to see with the unaided eye,” NASA said.  But with comets, you really never know.”

The sky will be free of moonlight when Leonard is at its brightest. That should afford some views of the comet’s dust tail, which began to noticeably lengthen in early November. It should be pointing straight up.

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