Comet Leonard approaches Earth in mid-December: it will be visible around the world

The comet Leonard will be appreciated with the naked eye (or a telescope) in almost everyone from this 12 December.

This December is approaching the Earth  the comet  C / 2021 A1 Leonard , a huge rock composed of ice, dust and gas that comes from the Oort cloud on the border of the solar system.

Leonard will make his closest approach to Earth this month, making it possible to observe it with binoculars or a small telescope, some predictions even suggest that it may be possible to observe it with the naked eye. In the northern hemisphere, Comet Leonard will have its closest approach to Earth on December 12, when it is almost 35 million kilometers from our planet.

Around that time, before dawn, Leonard will be seen by the naked eye almost anywhere in the world. A practical way to locate the path of Comet Leonard is to focus between the constellation Ursa Major and Arthur (the third brightest star in the night sky in the constellation Boyero).

Although astronomers expect Leonard’s brightness to reach a magnitude of 5 to 2.5 in the week before December 12 (as a very faint star barely visible to the human eye), the brightness and visibility of comets is unpredictable. , reports NASA .

Most likely, it is almost impossible to observe with the naked eye in skies with minimal light pollution. Instead, it is best to use binoculars or a hobby telescope from rural areas or with skies free of light pollution.

More viewing opportunities

After December 12, Leonard will become an increasingly distant object and it will still be possible to observe him at dusk in the southwest, accompanying Venus after the Sun sets.

In the second half of December, it will reverse its position from north to south, so that the countries of South America could see it in its distance from Earth near the western line of the horizon.

Three weeks later, Comet Leonard will continue its course towards the inner planets and will finally reach perihelion (the point of its orbit closest to the Sun) on January 3, 2022, to begin a trip of no return beyond our Solar System.