Devil's Comet: what is this rare astronomical phenomenon and how to observe it starting this Friday ?

Devil's Comet: what is this rare astronomical phenomenon and how to observe it starting this Friday ?

La “comète du diable” ne reviendra près de la terre que dans 71 ans. ILLUSTRATION UNSPLASH

La comète du diable, aussi connue des scientifiques sous le nom de 12P/Pons-Brook s’apprête à faire son apparition dans le ciel. Elle visible à l’œil nu à partir de ce vendredi 22 mars.

It is one of the most luminous comets. 12P/Pons-Brook, more commonly known as the "Devil's Comet" will be visible in the sky on the weekend of March 22 for a period of fifteen days.

This is a rare astral phenomenon, which occurs approximately every 71 years, as specified in the magazine It's Interesting. Its next passage through the sky is expected by scientists in 2095.

30 km diameter

Discovered for the first time in 1812, by the concierge of the Marseille observatory, the Devil's Comet is a small spherical celestial body, composed of ice and dust, 30 km in diameter. She owes her nickname "devil" to the horn shape that it leaves behind when it explodes.

It has been possible to observe it since March 17, but it is from the 22nd that it will be most visible. Its end of route is scheduled for April 21, the date on which a blue-green dot will then appear at the start of the night, between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the north/northwest direction, according to the website specializing in astronomy Stelvision.

Visible to the naked eye

Because of its brilliance, the comet will be relatively easy to observe with the naked eye, although in order not to miss anything of the celestial spectacle, it is advisable to equip yourself a pair of binoculars or a telescope.

The best way to put all the chances on your side and hope to see something is to get away from light pollution and find a viewpoint where the sky is clear.  It will then be necessary to observe towards the northwest, towards the constellation Andromeda. A specialized free application like Stellarium can also be useful for locating the celestial bodies.

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