The Devil's Comet - Approaching Earth by Late March - Purwana Tekno, Software Engineer
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Sabtu, 23 Maret 2024

The Devil's Comet - Approaching Earth by Late March

Astronomers have unveiled breathtaking images of the 'devil's comet,' measuring the size equivalent to Mount Everest. These images depict a colossal ice ball shrouding swirls of red, green, and blue gases around its core.

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The spiral shape resembling the yin and yang symbol is caused by the comet emitting streams of cryomagma as it rotates and completes a full rotation within two weeks. The ejected ice jets twist into whirls, as seen in the images.

Stargazers can catch sight of the comet with the naked eye by the end of March and during the Solar Eclipse phenomenon on April 8th. Those situated far from city lights and light pollution can vividly witness the comet in the night sky.

Astrophotographer Jan Erik Vallestad captured close-up images using specialized software to magnify the comet's coma area, the scientific term for the ice dust cloud. lowongan seo specialist

Dubbed the Devil's Comet

The comet, named 12P/Pons-Brooks, is known as the 'devil's comet.' It earned this moniker last year when a photo captured it with a horseshoe shape atop resembling horns.

However, Vallestad's latest images, taken from Norway, provide a more detailed portrayal of Pons-Brooks as it moves closer to the Sun.

He explained that while most astronomers focus on the comet's tail, which elongates every night, Vallestad chose to concentrate on the comet's core.

"I simply focused on the comet's core, disregarding almost everything else. Many astronomers believe comet explosions are signs of cryovolcanic activity. So, this could be further evidence of that," Vallestad said, as quoted by Daily Mail on Saturday (22/3/2024).

The comet spans 16 km wide and undergoes periodic fiery outbursts like volcanoes, making it shine 100 times brighter than usual when nearing the Sun.

Pons-Brooks can only be sighted with a telescope, binoculars, or through long-exposure photos toward the Pisces constellation in the late afternoon.

Cryovolcanic activity occurs when a comet experiences ice and gas eruptions akin to volcanoes. Solar radiation fractures the comet's nucleus consisting of rocks, dust, and frozen gases, causing it to crack and spew water, ammonia, and methane, known as cryomagma, from its core into space.

Latvia-based astrophotographer Juris Sennikovs also replicated Vallestad's technique to discover the spiral's location. "After seeing Jan Erik Vallestad's images, I processed my images of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks in the same manner," said Sennikovs.

"I was pleasantly surprised; I also got the spiral around the comet's core. Without processing, one could easily overlook this structure," he added.

Those interested in viewing the comet now, he said, can do so by looking toward the western night sky toward the Square of Pegasus.

In the upcoming weeks, it will shift toward the Aries constellation, and if it brightens, it will become so luminous that it can be seen without a telescope.

"The increased brightness of the devil's comet may be due to ice sensing the Sun's warmth for the first time, transitioning into a gas phase and exiting the core, dragging dust or other ice along with it," said Lori Feaga, a professor studying comets at the University of Maryland.

Pons-Brooks was first discovered by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons in 1812 and in 1883 by William Brooks, who gave it its name, although astronomers say there is evidence that the comet was seen as early as 1385.

The comet was last seen 71 years ago when it journeyed close to the Sun and will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere until early May, when it begins to fade but will remain visible in the Southern Hemisphere until June.

"It's very exciting to study during this 'visit' because we only get a chance every 70 years, and technological advancements and telescopes have rapidly improved since its last appearance," said Feaga.

"During this visit, we should be able to gain a better understanding of the comet's chemical composition," she concluded.

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