The skies will be alive with lights this month. We’re not just talking about the growing number of UFO sightings around the world, either. There will also be several explainable aerial phenomena in the coming days. For instance, several asteroids of varying sizes will zip by Earth this month. Unfortunately, some of those will be hard to see. Luckily for stargazers, December will see the arrival of Comet Leonard, the brightest and most-visible comet of the year.
According to the US Sun, Comet Leonard will be closest to Earth tomorrow, December 12. However, it will be visible for the rest of the month. Additionally, many stargazers saw the comet earlier this month just before sunrise.
Next week, starting on December 14, North American stargazers will be able to see Comet Leonard on the early evening horizon, just after sundown. Those in the Southern Hemisphere will have much the same view.
Starting next Friday, December 17, Comet Leonard will be visible just below Venus in the evening sky. On Christmas Day, the comet will be visible in some areas on the southwestern horizon after sunset. The comet’s location will continue to change until it moves out of view and further on its path.
The Path of Comet Leonard
Comet Leonard is a massive glowing ball of ice that is currently shooting through space. It has been on this cosmic journey for over 35,000 years. That journey started in deep space and might end there as well. On the other hand, the comet may come close to the sun and melt away to nothing. It will come closest to the sun on January 3.
According to NASA, they discovered Comet Leonard in January of this year. At that time, it was out past Mars. By studying its trajectory they predicted that the comet’s orbit would bring it close to both Earth and Venus before continuing on its journey. In November, the agency was already able to get a clear view of Leonard’s “green-tinged coma and extended dust tail,” with the aid of a moderate-sized telescope. They spotted the comet above the Eastern Sierra mountains in California.
In January, if Comet Leonard hasn’t melted, it will travel back to deep space.
If you want to follow Comet Leonard’s journey from here to the sun, you can check out the comet’s Twitter profile. There, you’ll get live updates on the position and visibility of the comet. For instance, in Leonard’s last tweet, we learned that the comet is 35.4 million miles away from Earth. That’s roughly 22 million miles away. Additionally, the tweet announced that the comet was visible near the Hercules constellation.
So, keep your eyes on the skies as well as the Comet Leonard Twitter account to be sure that you catch a glimpse of the brightest comet of the year.