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Newly found Comet Leonard might become 2021’s brightest

13 Jan 2021, 13:00 UTC
Newly found Comet Leonard might become 2021’s brightest
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is what a comet looks like – just a dot to our eyes – when it’s far from the sun. Astronomers spotted Comet Leonard (inside the tick marks) in early January 2021, a year before its closest sweep past our sun. The comet might be visible to the unaided eye by the end of this year. Read more about this image, which is via astronomer Filipp Romanov.
Exciting news! A newly found comet might become 2021’s brightest comet. Astronomer Greg Leonard discovered the comet that now bears his name – C/2021 A1 (Leonard) – on January 3, 2021 at the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. Astronomers report that discovery images show a tail for the comet, suggesting we might see a nice tail as Comet Leonard draws closer to the Earth and sun. The comet is still far away, currently between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, heading inward. It’ll reach perihelion, its closest approach to the sun, around January 3, 2022. And so we’ll have a whole year to watch this comet get brighter, and brighter!
EarthSky 2021 lunar calendars now available! Order now. Going fast!
NASA/JPL estimates that Comet Leonard’s closest approach to Earth will be on ...

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