Leonard’s comet today, exactly one year after its discovery, comes as close as possible to the Sun

(ORDO NEWS) — The brightest comet in the night sky right now, on Monday, January 3, is approaching the Sun as close as possible, but even if the comet survives this encounter, it will never return to the vicinity of our star again.

This frosty visitor from space, Leonard’s Comet, flashed abruptly in the sky at the end of December, when it came close to the Sun. Amateur astronomers even had the opportunity to observe the comet and the planet Venus through binoculars when the comet approached Venus on December 17.

Comet Leonard, also known as Comet C / 2021 A1, was discovered on January 3, 2021 and immediately became a coveted target for amateur astronomers.

Comet Leonard will be at perihelion of its orbit – the point closest to the Sun – just a few hours before the perihelion of its orbit reaches Earth, on Tuesday at 6:52 GMT.

The comet will approach the Sun at a distance of about 90 million kilometers, which is about half the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Leonard’s comet will have to endure the powerful gravitational influence of the star and its solar wind.

Therefore, as in the case of many other comets, there is a risk of the destruction of comet Leonard. But even if the comet survives this journey, it will go into interstellar space, from where it will never return to our planetary system, NASA reported.

NASA also notes that Comet Leonard traveled 40,000 years to our Sun from outside the solar system, but was only discovered on January 3, 2021 – exactly one year before the comet reached perihelion of its orbit.

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