• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Earth: ‘Devil comet’, bigger than Mount Everest, racing towards Earth and is set to explode soon


NEW DELHI: The “Devil Comet,” officially known as 12P, is currently making its way towards Earth and is anticipated to undergo a significant eruption soon. This comet, which is nearly three times the size of Mount Everest, is classified as a cryovolcano, which means it erupts due to the build-up and ignition of gas and ice, much like a frozen soda can exploding.The comet is notably large, with a diameter of 18.6 miles, comparable to the size of a small city.
According to Astronomy.com, it’s a short-period comet, completing an orbit around the Sun approximately every 71.2 years, a pattern similar to the well-known Halley’s Comet. Comets like this, with an orbital period of less than 200 years, are categorized as short-period comets.
Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is not a recent discovery in our solar system. Its existence has been acknowledged since 1812, when it was first observed by the comet hunter Jean-Louis Pons, who noted it at a 4th magnitude brightness. However, the initial observations were not detailed enough to accurately forecast its future appearances. Consequently, it was “rediscovered” in 1883 by William Brooks. Contemporary astronomers, analyzing historical records, suggest that this comet might have been documented in earlier passes, possibly as far back as 1385, the Astronomy.com report said.
Nick James from the British Astronomical Association (BAA) said, “The last few outbursts have been on a 15-day cadence and we might be coming up to another one.” The comet’s eruption pattern is attributed to its rotation cycle of approximately two weeks, during which solar heating activates a cryovolcanic vent on the comet, leading to these explosive events.
The comet’s most notable recent explosion was on November 14, which significantly increased its brightness.
One of the comet’s distinctive features during eruptions is the formation of “horns,” earning it the moniker “Devil Comet.” However, the horns were less noticeable in recent eruptions, with the November 14 event showing an almost perfectly spherical atmosphere.
Although the comet’s name and appearance may seem foreboding, it poses no immediate threat. It completes an orbit around the sun every 71 years and is expected to be closest to Earth in Spring 2024, at which point it will become visible without the aid of telescopes.


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