This strange comet approaching Earth continues to transform before the eyes of astronomers

Since this summer the astronomersastronomers from all over the world have fun observing the evolution of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks along its path to our Sun. For the fourth time, from July, the BrightnessBrightness The comet suddenly brightened, shining at magnitude 9 in the constellation Hercules. According to astronomers, this sudden increase in brightness is a sign of its increasingly turbulent activity as it approaches our star.

An increasingly active comet

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks returns to us approximately every 71 years: it is a so-called periodic comet, of whichtracktrackstrongly elliptical, bringing it closer to the Sun before moving away again to the borders of us Solar systemSolar systemat maximum distance from our Star of 33.8 astronomical unitsastronomical units — beyond the orbit of NeptuneNeptune. It will reach its closest point to the Sun in the spring of 2024 and visit us again in 2094.

The comet consists of icy materials and heats up as it approaches the sun, causing the sublimationsublimation of part of its core, which comes from thefixed statefixed state to thegaseous stategaseous state. We are talking about cryovolcanic activity here: under the influence of the increase of BusyBusythe gases burrow to the comet’s surface and escape into space, leaving a trail of gas and dust behind them.

Very erratic activity

If its previous peaks of activity had given it the appearance of a horned monster, this latest explosion has this time turned it into a pale green ball, crossed by a curved line of colourcolour dark. The appearance of horns was associated with the supposedly irregular shape of the comet’s nucleus, and the explanation could also apply to the formation of this strange structure; but some astronomers offer other explanations, the Spaceweather website reports.

The curved line could indeed be the shadow of a specific gas plume, a sign of an escape from mattermatter at a localized location on the comet’s surface. Its activity is very unpredictable and its appearance can change from one night to the next! It is possible to follow the location live on The Sky Guide website.

This comet with horns resumes its volcanic activity!

Article by Gaspard SalomonGaspard Salomonpublished on November 14, 2023

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks again attracts the attention of astronomers and suddenly gains brightness. The comet’s activity was already known to sky watchers and had already been observed twice along its path towards our Sun. The volcanic activity gives it the appearance of a horned monster and is a delight to its observers.

For the third time since this summer, astronomers are reporting a sudden increase in the brightness of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, causing it to shine at magnitude 12 in the constellation Hercules last November 2. Signs of one emissionsemissions of gas, due to its warming as it approaches the sun.

Cryovolcanic eruptions that increase its brightness

First noted in 1812 by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons and then rediscovered in 1883 by American astronomer William Robert Brooks, 12P/Pons-Brooks is a so-called periodic comet, meaning it completes a full orbit (or revolution) in a relatively regular time interval. Like every 71 years, it is about to reach its closest point to the Sun, which tends to heat up as it approaches us. starstar.

As it heats up, the comet’s icy core sublimates and goes from a solid state to a gaseous state. We then speak of cryovolcanic activity: the gases make their way to the surface of the comet and escape into space, leaving a trail of gas and dust behind them, causing a sudden increase in brightness. In the case of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, its brightness increased almost a hundredfold in just a few days! The appearance of a horned monster appears to be due to the irregular shape of the nucleus.

Unpredictable cryovolcanic activity

As it approaches the point in its orbit closest to the Sun – the perihelionperihelion, which will reach it in the spring of 2024, we can expect cryovolcanic activity to resume. But its activity is difficult to predict, and amateur astronomers are sticking to their expectations telescopestelescopes aimed at this visitor.

After reaching perihelion, 12P/Pons-Brooks will once again return to the boundaries of the solar system, with a maximum distance from the Sun (or apheliaaphelia) of 33.8 astronomical units, beyond the orbit of Neptune. In 2094 it will reach perihelion again. You can follow the comet’s evolution live via The Sky Guide, as well as its current position in our solar system.

Article by Nathalie MayerNathalie Mayerpublished on October 17, 2023

Last July, comet P12/Pons-Brooks caught the attention of astronomers by suddenly gaining brightness. The result of an eruption, the researchers then explained. And now she’s done it again. Once again she has decorated herself with funny ice cream cones that make her look like the Millennium Falcon.

Comet P12/Pons-Brooks was already in the news this summer. As it slowly moved towards Earth – it should reach its closest point to the Sun in April 2024 – the brightness suddenly increased dramatically. The cause was an explosion that occurred on the surface.

Repeated eruptions on the cryovolcanic comet

Or rather, we need to talk about an outburst. Because Comet P12/Pons-Brooks is what astronomers call a cryovolcanic comet. It can erupt as the sun heats up its core. The pressure then increases to a cloudcloud ice is thrown into space through cracks in space crustcrust of the comet.

This is what happened last July with P12/Pons-Brooks. And on October 5, researchers again announced the British Astronomical Society. After another outburst, astronomers noticed that the comet had become dozens of times brighter. In the days that followed, she found herself once again adorned with a kind of horns.

Horns due to the irregular shape of the comet

The researchers believe that the unusual shape that comet P12/Pons-Brooks takes at the time of these outbursts – a shape necessarily reminiscent of that of the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars — is due to an irregularity in the shape of the nucleus. During the July eruption it was comacoma was thus expanded until it reached 7,000 times the size of the said core. And even though the numbers are not in yet, this eruption appears to have been twice as intense.

As Comet P12/Pons-Brooks gets closer to our Sun, it is expected to experience more of these types of outbursts.

The Millennium Falcon photographed in space? No, a giant comet that exploded!

Article by Dorian Schaepmeester published on 30-07-2023

An unexpected event surprised astronomers observing the planet Dragon zodiac signDragon zodiac sign the past few days. Comet P12/Pons-Brooks experiences a sudden increase in brightness, possibly due to an explosion: the star’s halo is now decorated with a pair of luminous ‘horns’.

A “comet with horns”. This is the nickname that the Anglo-Saxon media has given comet 12P/Pons-Brooks since July 19. On that day, astronomers around the world watched an explosion on the surface of the celestial body, causing its brightness to increase dramatically and suddenly. The event occurred on the comet nucleus of 12P/Pons-Brooks, with a diameter of 34 by 12 kilometers (i.e. dimensions comparable to the Halley’s CometHalley’s Comet). Its brilliance increased and exceeded the usual average by five times. Internet users, thanks to the project Virtual telescopephotographed the comet: it now shows a special feature, the HighlightHighlight form two pointed bumps, similar to horns. The planet traverses the solar system and is currently 3.9 astronomical units (about 448 million kilometers), far beyond Mars. apparent sizeapparent size of 12P/Pons-Brooks went from 16.6 to 11.6 during the explosion. With a magnitude of 11.6, the comet remains invisible to natureeyeeye naked. Yet it is observable with an astronomical telescope or telescope.

Imminent approach to the edge of the Earth

Possibly observed in the XIVe and XVe century, P12/Pons-Brooks was formally identified in 1812 by the French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons. With an elliptical trajectory the circulation timecirculation time of the comet is 71 years. It should reach perihelion, the point closest to the Sun, in April 2024. A few days later it will approach Earth’s vicinity and may be visible in the sky nocturnalnocturnalhypothetically reaching a magnitude of 4.5.

Message to astronomersNorthern HemisphereNorthern Hemisphere, P12/Pons-Brooks is currently located in the “head” of the constellation Dragons, near the Little Bear. Given its low magnitude, the comet is only visible with powerful telescopes. For the most patient, you will have to wait eleven months to admire the object that will illuminate the sky for a few days, from April to June 2024.

Leave a Comment