Every 80,000 years, Comet Leonard passes through Earth’s orbit and we will be lucky to see it in 2021.
Comets are distant visitors to the solar system whose orbit extends beyond Neptune and takes tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years to complete a period around the sun.
Hence, observing a comet as it passes through the inner planets of our cosmic neighborhood is a single event Which is almost incompatible with human life.
However, after seeing Comet Niowise in 2020, humanity will have again Unique opportunity to observe one By the end of 2021: it’s about C / 2021 A 1 Leonard, a comet that was discovered at the beginning of the year and can be seen with the naked eye.
The brightest comet of 2021
C/2021 A1 first seen on Leonard January 3, 2021 From the Mount Lemon Observatory, in Arizona, United States, and named after the astronomer who discovered it, Greg Leonard.
During the first observations of this astronomical body composed of dust, ice and rock, it was determined that it was a Kite long-term, that is, it comes from the Oort cloud and has an orbital period of approximately 80,000 years.
In January 2021, Leonard was between the orbit of Jupiter and Mars and was heading toward the inner planets of the Solar System at a point Average speed of 70.6 kilometers per second. Eleven months later, the comet continues its path towards the center of the solar system and in the next few days it will reach the orbit of Mars, then approach the Earth.
Leonard’s closest approach to our planet will happen next December 12 2021 At 07:54 (Central Mexico time), the comet will be 34.9 million km from Earth.
In the previous days, if weather conditions allowed, it would be possible Observing Leonard’s Tail With The Naked Eye Before sunrise and get a broader perspective using binoculars.
Three weeks later, the C/2021 A1 Leonard will arrive at rock bottom (its orbit point closest to the sun) on January 3, 2022, to continue its journey towards the ends of the solar system, a visit that will not be repeated for about 80 thousand years.