AUSTIN (KXAN) – A newly discovered comet could light up your night on some of the longest nights of the year. Comet Leonard was first discovered in January 2021 beyond Mars, but now the orbit will reach the closest point to Earth later this month.
NASA describes a comet as “frozen remnants of the formation of the solar system composed of dust, rocks and ice. They range from a few miles to tens of thousands of miles wide, but as they orbit closer to the Sun, they heat up and emit gases and dust. into a glowing head that can be larger than a planet. This material forms a tail that extends millions of miles. “
Comet Leonard will pass Earth and then Venus this month before passing around the sun early next year.
Most likely you will need binoculars or a telescope to see comet Leonard, but some estimates suggest that it may be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye and without further assistance.
According to EarthSky.org, comet Leonard will likely be the brightest comet in 2021 with the best view in the evening sky on December 12th.
This year will be your only chance to see comet Leonard as it takes tens of thousands of years to orbit the sun.