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Extremely rare 'devil comet' expected to pass by Earth

Scientists believe Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks boasts an enormous diameter of about 10.5 miles, and the last time it passed this close to Earth was in 1954.
Extremely rare 'devil comet' expected to pass by Earth next summer
Posted at 2:36 PM, Nov 01, 2023

Prepare to witness a celestial spectacle like no other as a gigantic comet dubbed the "devil comet" is poised to make a rare appearance in Earth's night sky next summer for the first time in seven decades.

The ominous-sounding visitor, technically known among the scientific community as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, is currently only visible to those with extremely powerful telescopes. However, astronomers say it could potentially be seen with binoculars — or even the naked eye — in April and then again in June as it completes its 71-year orbit around the sun.

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Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks gets its official name from the two astronomers who first spotted it. Jean-Louis Pons is credited with discovering it in 1812 before William Robert Brooks spotted it again in 1883. But it has since been nicknamed the devil comet due to its trails of gas and dust that share a faint resemblance to devil horns.  

Scientists believe Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks boasts an enormous diameter of about 10.5 miles, and the last time it passed this close to Earth was all the way back in 1954. But despite its menacing size and nickname, experts say there's no reason to worry as 12P/Pons-Brooks does not pose any threats to life here on Earth.


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