Devil's Comet

Devil’s Comet can be seen in UAE skies

Earlier this week, a rare astronomical object called “Devil’s Comet” was spotted in the sky above the Abu Dhabi desert. According to astronomers, residents can see the comet even with the naked eye if they observe the sky in the right direction after sunset.

According to the International Astronomy Centre (IAC), the comet will reach its closest point to the Sun on April 21, and will come closest to Earth on June 2, 2024. Nasa reports that the celestial body will be best seen during a total solar eclipse, on 8 April this year.

This short-period comet from the Halley family, discovered in 1812, orbits the Sun once every 71 years. Its official name is 12P/Pons-Brooks, and it was last observed from Earth in 1954.

Although the Devil’s Comet will get brighter as it approaches Earth, it will be harder to see it when it gets close to the horizon and the Sun. “Therefore, now is the best time to see it,” the IAC said, “As time goes on, the comet’s flight altitude will decrease until it becomes almost impossible to see it at the end of April.

According to the International Astronomy Centre, in order to see the Devil Comet in the UAE, you need to look west about 45 minutes after sunset. The comet is expected to be about 15 degrees above the sunset region.

Amateur astronomers are also advised to use smart apps that show a sky map that locates the comet among the stars. Although it can also be seen with the naked eye, it is best to use binoculars.

At first, Devil’s Comet may appear as a hazy blur, but if you observe it from a completely dark place, you may be able to catch its tail.

Comets look like snowballs made up of dust, rocks and ice. “They vary in width from a few to tens of miles. But as they approach the sun, they heat up and eject gases and dust in the form of a glowing head that may be larger than a planet,” Nasa said in a statement.

Source: Khaleej Times

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