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Twice the size of Everest: ‘Devil Comet’ with horns and ice volcano to light up Earth’s skies – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Enormous ‘Devil Comet’ with Ice Volcano and ‘Horns’ to Illuminate Earth’s SkiesInitially spotted in 1812, this comet has a cycle of approximately 71 years.Earth can anticipate the comet reaching its maximum brightness in mid-April of the coming year when it will be positioned about 232 million kilometers, equivalent to 14,41,58,116 miles, away from our planet.”It might be bright enough that you can see with your naked eye or with binoculars, but that’s not because it’s going to be super close,” Teddy Kareta, a postdoctoral researcher at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, told Insider. “It’s because it’s just generally very bright.””There’s a chance that Pons-Brooks will be bright enough to see with your naked eye next spring, but it will almost certainly be bright enough to see with even a small set of binoculars or a starter backyard telescope. The primary bit of space news next April will obviously be the total solar eclipse, so people should consider marking their calendars to try to see the comet just in case it’s not getting as much news,” Kareta told Fox News Digital.The astronomer emphasized that predicting the brightness of comets as they approach Earth is challenging as they are “notorious unpredictability”, and it’s a “wait and see” situation for sky-watchers.The comet earned its nickname, “devil,” back in July when astronomers observed “horns” surrounding its nucleus, with some likening it to the Millennium Falcon spaceship from “Star Wars,” as previously reported by Forbes.Kareta clarified that these “horns” are essentially tails composed of gas and dust resulting from unusual outbursts that scientists are still investigating to comprehend fully.The astronomer told Insider that outbursts are when “comets suddenly get much more active,” ejecting gas and dust at an accelerated rate.”The comet brightens really rapidly and then sort of fades back to the brightness it had before,” he told the outlet. “And in Pons-Brooks, these are really, really bright — really, really large outbursts. And this is what makes this comet so interesting to scientists.”Kareta suggested that individuals stay updated on any developments regarding the comet in the months leading up to its anticipated appearance in the sky. Astronomers have approximated that the comet’s nucleus has a diameter of 12.4 miles, which is about twice the size of Mount Everest. In comparison to other celestial fireballs, which typically have diameters ranging from 0.6 to 1.8 miles, the comet is exceptionally massive, as noted by Kareta.”We know it’s big. We know it’s an outlier. We know it’s rare,” Kareta told Insider, adding that he believes “a lot of people are really excited about” the comet.(via inputs from agencies)

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