June 29, 2022

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So you can see it with the naked eye

Comet C / 2021 A1 Leonard was baptized in the media and networks as the “Christmas Comet”, a celestial body that orbits the Earth once every 80,000 years and, due to its brightness, can be seen first. This Sunday, December 12, coincides with the third Sunday of Advent.

In an article about this comet, National Geography Comets are “distant observers of the Solar System, whose orbit extends beyond Neptune and takes tens, hundreds or thousands of years to complete a period of time around the Sun,” he explained.

“Observing a comet passing through the inner planets of our cosmic environment is a unique phenomenon that does not coincide with human lifespan,” he added.

However, this December, you will have the opportunity to see the comet Leonard pass for the first time on January 3, 2021 at the Mount Lemon Laboratory at the University of Arizona (USA).

At the beginning of 2021 astronomer Gregory J. Leonard discovered this while reviewing photos of the night sky. The comet was named C / 2021 A1 Leonard in memory of the scientist.

The celestial body was baptized as the “Christmas Comet.” Some media And on social networks, it travels towards the sun at a speed of 70.6 kilometers per second, and by November of this year it had reached the distance of Mars.

National Geographic explained that the astronomical object was made up of “dust, ice and rocks” and that it was “a long-lived comet, meaning it comes from the Oort cloud and its orbital period is approximately 80 thousand years.”

The Oort cloud is a collection of 100 billion celestial bodies made up of rocks, ice and dust, located just beyond Pluto, about a light year from the Sun. It was discovered in 1950 by the Dutch astronomer John Hendrik Oort.

Scientists say the “Christmas comet” will reach its perigee – the shortest distance from Earth – on December 12 at 7:54 am (Mexico time), 34.9 million kilometers, 91 times farther from the Earth than the Moon.

After that, the comet will reach its shortest distance from the Sun on January 3, 2022 and then leave the Solar System.

On December 12 and earlier, if the weather permits, it is estimated that the comet can be seen with the naked eye before sunrise.