A uniquely shaped comet like Han Solo’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, is set to swerve close to Earth this spring, and if the weather cooperates, star Wars Fans won’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to catch a glimpse of it. for every NBC NewsComet 12/P Pons-Brooks has been orbiting the sun for 71 years, and on June 2, it will be within viewing distance for the first time since 1954. “Horns” of gas and ice hang on either side of the comet. The comet has changed its shape (More observers may look like The metallic stars are shaped like Satan’s horns, inspiring some astronomers to dub them the “Devil’s Comet”).
The horns were likely formed when the comet erupted in July and October of this year. Richard Miles of the British Astronomical Society said CBS News The “largely fragile cloud of dust and gas” stands out because the comet’s large nucleus (estimated to be 18 to 25 miles across) forms a shadow over the coma (bright gas cloud). The dust passing over that core “creates the hollow shape and horns, so that the entire blast coma looks like the Millennium Falcon spaceship,” he said. Astronomers say it can be seen in April, when it is closest to the Sun, and again in June, when it is closest to Earth.
Under the right conditions — clear, dark skies — people may be able to see the comet without the aid of a telescope. Amateur astronomer Elliot Herman took pictures of it using remote telescopes in Utah. “NASA’s SOHO space probe takes pictures from space of comets close to the sun, several of them every year, but seeing one with an eye close to the sun is impossible unless there is an eclipse, which there will be,” he told NBC. “I’ll be in Texas and hopefully get to see it and photograph it.” While the comet is within viewing distance, there is no reason to worry about it colliding with our planet. Miles points out that it is 70 times the distance from the moon and that “a collision is absolutely unlikely.” (Comets are fun to see, but they probably smell terrible.)
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