(ORDO NEWS) — In early January, astronomers from the Minor Planet Center noticed a comet approaching the Earth in the telescope images. The object has been assigned the designation C / 2021 A1 (Leonard). According to the researchers, the celestial object will approach as close as possible to Earth on December 12, 2021. Scientists stressed that this phenomenon will be unique.
The comet will pass so close to the Earth that any inhabitant of the planet can observe it with the naked eye. Currently, the celestial object is located in the constellation Hounds Dogs and has a magnitude of +19 magnitude. The images show a gas and dust coma up to 10 arcseconds in size and a small dust tail up to 5 arcseconds long.
According to astronomers’ calculations, on December 12, 2021, the comet will approach our planet at a minimum distance of 0.233 AU. In 6 days it will fly again at the minimum distance, but now not from the Earth, but from Venus (0.0283 AU).
The researchers noted that in the entire history of astronomical observations, they observed only 4 comets, which were even closer to the Earth, that is, this celestial object will be the fifth in a row. During the approach to Earth, the comet will reach a maximum brightness of about +4 magnitude.
When C / 2021 A1 is between the Sun and Earth, the effect of forward scattering may occur, that is, the brightness of the dust tail will increase and the maximum brightness of the comet may reach +1.5 magnitude.
In the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, the object will be available for observations from the Earth from the beginning of September. The comet will pass slowly against the background of the constellations Ursa Major, then Hounds Dogs and Hair of Veronica.
At the end of November, the apparent angular velocity of the object will increase sharply. Observers will have only a few days to see its maximum brightness. In the first half of December, the celestial object will quickly pass against the background of the constellations Bootes, Serpent, Hercules and Ophiuchus, and on December 14, it will move to the sky of the Southern Hemisphere.
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