Home US New images of ‘devil comet’ are released ahead of its spectacular appearance in the night sky this month

New images of ‘devil comet’ are released ahead of its spectacular appearance in the night sky this month

0 comment
Astrophotographer Jan Erik Vallestad captured images of the swirling Devil's Comet

Stunning new images have been released of an “evil comet” the size of Manhattan.

The new images show that the giant ice ball hides a spiraling swirl of red, green and blue gas around its icy core.

The spirals, which resemble a yin-yang symbol, are caused by the comet ejecting streams of cryomagma as it rotates and as it completes a full rotation in two weeks, the ice jets are twisted into the swirls visible in the images.

Stargazers will be able to see the comet with the naked eye by the end of March and during the April 8 solar eclipse – along the 185-mile stretch from Maine to Texas – if they are in areas far from city lights and have a clear view of the comet. night sky.

Astrophotographer Jan Erik Vallestad captured images of the swirling Devil's Comet

Astrophotographer Jan Erik Vallestad captured images of the swirling Devil’s Comet

The Devil's Comet, called P12/Pons-Brooks, appeared in July 2023 for the first time in 71 years

The Devil's Comet, called P12/Pons-Brooks, appeared in July 2023 for the first time in 71 years

The Devil’s Comet, called P12/Pons-Brooks, appeared in July 2023 for the first time in 71 years

Astrophotographer Jan Erik Vallestad captured the close-up images using specialized software to zoom in on the comet’s coma – a scientific term for a cloud of icy dust.

The comet, known as the “Devil’s Comet,” got its name last year when a photo captured it with a horseshoe shape at its crest, which resembled horns.

But recent images of Vallestad, taken from Norway, provide a much more detailed picture of Pons-Brooks as it gets closer to the sun.

He explained that most astronomers focus on the comet’s tail, which grows longer each night, but Vallestad decided to focus on the comet’s nucleus.

“I focused only on the core here, ignoring almost everything else,” Vallestad said, adding that many astronomers believe the comet’s explosions are a sign of cryovolcanic activity, “so this could be evidence extra of that.”

Astronomers may be able to see Comet Pons-Brooks with the naked eye during the April 8 solar eclipse.

Astronomers may be able to see Comet Pons-Brooks with the naked eye during the April 8 solar eclipse.

Astronomers may be able to see Comet Pons-Brooks with the naked eye during the April 8 solar eclipse.

The Devil's Comet got its name last year when a photo captured it with a horseshoe shape to its crest, resembling horns.

The Devil's Comet got its name last year when a photo captured it with a horseshoe shape to its crest, resembling horns.

The Devil’s Comet got its name last year when a photo captured it with a horseshoe shape to its crest, resembling horns.

The comet, named 12P/Pons-Brooks, is 10.5 miles wide and experiences periodic volcanic-like “eruptions” that make it shine 100 times brighter than usual as it gets closer to the sun.

Pons-Brooks can only be seen with a telescope, binoculars or through long exposure photography towards the constellation Pisces in the early evening.

Cryovolcanic activity occurs when a comet experiences volcano-like eruptions of ice and gas.

Solar radiation from the comet causes cracks in its core – made up of rocks, dust and frozen gas – to open and spews water, ammonia and methane, called cryomagma, from its core into the comet. ‘space.

The comet will be visible in the northern hemisphere until May and in the southern hemisphere until June.

The comet will be visible in the northern hemisphere until May and in the southern hemisphere until June.

The comet will be visible in the northern hemisphere until May and in the southern hemisphere until June.

The next time Comet Pons-Brooks will appear is in 2095

The next time Comet Pons-Brooks will appear is in 2095

The next time Comet Pons-Brooks will appear is in 2095

Latvia-based astrophotographer Juris Sennikovs also imitated Vallestad’s technique to locate the spiral.

“After seeing (the) Jan Erik Vallestad image, I treated my image of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in the same way,” Seņņikovs told Spaceweather.

“To my surprise, I also discovered a spiral around the comet’s nucleus. Without treatment, you can easily miss this structure,” he added.

To see comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, look toward the Grand Square of Pegasus and in the coming weeks the comet will head toward the constellation Aries.

To see comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, look toward the Grand Square of Pegasus and in the coming weeks the comet will head toward the constellation Aries.

To see comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, look toward the Grand Square of Pegasus and in the coming weeks the comet will head toward the constellation Aries.

Those wishing to observe the comet can now do so by looking toward the western area of ​​the night sky, toward the square of Pegasus.

In the coming weeks, it will move towards the constellation Aries and if it brightens, it will become so bright that it can be visible without a telescope.

The Devil’s Comet’s bursts of brightness are “probably caused by the ices feeling the sun’s heat for the first time, transforming into a gas phase and escaping from the core, taking other dust or ice with them ” said Lori Feaga, professor. who studies comets at the University of Maryland, said The Washington Post.

Pons-Brooks was first discovered by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons in 1812, and again in 1883 by William Brooks, giving it its name, although astronomers say there is evidence that the comet was spotted as early as 1385.

It was last seen 71 years ago when it moved closer to the sun and will be visible in the northern hemisphere until early May when it will begin to fade, but will remain visible in the southern hemisphere until June.

The most recent Pons-Brooks flares occurred in July 2023, then on October 15, November 1 and 14, December 14 and January 18, and the next time the comet will be seen is in 2095.

“It’s interesting to study during this (visit) because we only get the chance every 70 years…and the technology and telescopes have improved dramatically since they were last seen,” Feaga told the Post.

She added: “During this (visit), we should be able to better understand the chemical composition of the comet.”

You may also like