Brightest comet of 2021 to pass Earth on December 12: Check visibility, timing, how to watch

Reported By:DNA Web Team| Edited By: DNA Web Team |Source: DNA webdesk |Updated: Dec 08, 2021, 09:39 PM IST

Leonard, the brightest comet of the year, to fly closest to Earth on Dec 12. Only recently discovered in January 2021, the comet also known as C/2021 A1 will be visible in the night sky through December and will keep glowing brighter as the month passes by.

Discovered by astronomer Gregory J Leonard earlier this year, the comet is coming near Earth after 35,000 years in outer space where its flattened elliptical orbit takes Leonard around 523 billion kilometres away.

While the astronomical class is notoriously unpredictable in terms of its visibility, Leonard’s really bright glow is expected to be visible from the naked eye too at times as per astronomical estimates. However, it is advised that you use a telescope or a binocular to enjoy the celestial spectacle.

Time to watch Leonard?

The best time for viewing the comet on December 12 will be a couple of hours before dawn.

Where to look in the sky?

Leonard can be spotted in east-northeast part of the sky in the first weeks of December. The comet will pass between the brightest star of the Bootes constellation, Arcturus, and the handle of the Big Dipper asterism during the closest approach to our planet.

From December 14 onwards, the comet will be seen in the evening sky after sunset. While comet Leonard will be closest to Earth on December 12, astronomers suggest that it will be best visible on December 17.

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