Home Headlines Comet Pons-Brooks: A Celestial Phenomenon visible in April 2024

Comet Pons-Brooks: A Celestial Phenomenon visible in April 2024

by Yucatan Times
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Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is currently visible in the northwestern sky early in the evenings. Over time, it will become harder to spot from mid-northern latitudes.

The comet has gotten bright enough (magnitude 4.0) to see it with a small telescope or binoculars if the sky is dark. Sadly, the Moon will get brighter this week, which will make the comet harder to see.

The comet will be at its brightest on April 21, when it is closest to the Sun. Need a hand spotting it? Download the free Sky Tonight app and let the adventure begin.

If you are at mid-northern latitudes, look for the comet low in the western sky just after it gets dark. The best time to see it is around 9 pm local time. At that time, the comet will begin to go below the treetops, so find a place with a clear view to the west-northwest. The comet might look like a faint, fuzzy spot that could seem greenish in photos. With binoculars or in photos with long exposures, you might also see its faint tail pointing upward.

Is the comet Pons-Brooks visible to the naked eye?

Although the comet has surpassed the naked-eye visibility limit of magnitude 6.5, it’s still unlikely that you can currently spot it without binoculars. This is because the magnitude scale works well for pinpoint sources of light like stars or planets, but it’s not as reliable for diffuse objects like galaxies and comets because it measures the total light spread out over the object.

Comets typically become visible to the naked eye when they hit around magnitude 3. And 12P/Pons-Brooks may reach this magnitude!

The “devil comet” Pons-Brooks is a cryovolcanic comet — an ice volcano flying through space. From time to time, it erupts, sending bursts of ice and gas into space, causing it to appear much brighter for the next few days.

On the night of April 3-4, multiple observers from all over the world reported that comet Pons-Brook suddenly became much brighter than on previous nights. According to the reports, its brightness increased by 1 magnitude, and now the comet looks like a star-like object with an apparent magnitude of 3.5 to 4!

How to see the comet 12P/Pons-Brooks now?

⁠ You can save your time searching for the comet at random and learn its exact location with the help of the Sky Tonight astronomy app. Here is how to do it:

  • Launch the app, tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom left of the main screen, and type “Pons-Brooks” in the search bar.
  • Tap the target button to the right of the desired result. The app will show you the comet on the sky map.
  • Tap the compass button or point your device at the sky and follow the white arrow with the comet symbol until you see the comet on the screen.
  • Now look for the comet in that direction.

Discover dozens of other useful Sky Tonight features that will make your stargazing nights smooth and fun! Watch our tutorials here.

TYT Newsroom

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