C / 2021 Leonard, the comet that ‘brushes’ the Earth and can be seen with the naked eye later this year

Every 80,000 years, the comet Leonard orbits the Earth, and in 2021 we will have the good fortune to see it.

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

So, observing a comet as it passes through the inner planets of our cosmic orbit Single event It does not correspond to human life.

However, after seeing the comet NEOWISE in 2020, humanity is once again one A unique opportunity to notice one By the end of 2021: It’s almost over C / 2021 A1 Leonard, A comet visible to the naked eye was discovered earlier this year.

read more: They have discovered a mysterious object in the solar system that acts simultaneously as an asteroid and a comet.

The brightest comet of 2021

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

C / 2021 A1 Leonard first seen January 3, 2021 From the Mount Lemon Laboratory in Arizona, USA, he named the astronomer Greg Leonard who discovered it.

During the first observations of this astronomical object formed by dust, ice and rocks, it was a Kite Long term, I.e., it comes from the Oort cloud and its orbital period is approximately 80,000 years.

In January 2021, Leonard was in orbit between Jupiter and Mars and was orbiting the inner planets of the solar system. The average speed is 70.6 kilometers per second. Eleven months later, the comet continues its orbit toward the center of the solar system, reaching the orbit of Mars in the next few days and then approaching Earth.

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

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

In earlier days, if the weather allowed, it was possible Notice Leonard’s tail with the naked eye Get a panoramic view before sunrise and with the telescope.

Three weeks later, C / 2021 A1 will reach Leonard Perihelion (The point of its orbit closest to the Sun) On January 3, 2022, a visit that will not return for about 80 thousand years to continue its journey towards the edges of the Solar System.

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