If 2023 wasn’t already thrilling enough, now we’ve got a city-sized horned comet playing ‘chicken’ with Earth! Dive into the details of this Comet Earth rendezvous, and find out why this comet coming to Earth might just be the most exciting celestial event of the year.
In a world that already feels like it’s teetering on the edge of the unknown, with geopolitical tensions and the rapid advancement of AI in various sectors, including the military, there’s now another phenomenon to add to the mix. A “horned” comet, three times the size of Mount Everest, is hurtling towards our planet at an alarming speed.
Live Science has recently reported on this celestial body, which has been described as an exploding comet with a horn-like appearance, making its way through space with a trajectory that will see it pass by Earth in the coming months.
The Horned Comet’s Explosive Nature
The comet, officially named 12P/Pons-Brooks, is a cryovolcanic comet. This essentially means it’s a cold volcano. It boasts a solid nucleus with an estimated diameter of 18.6 miles, filled with cryomagma, a combination of dust, ice, and gas. The explosive nature of this comet is attributed to solar radiation. This radiation heats the comet’s interior, causing a build-up of pressure. This pressure, in turn, results in the comet exploding violently, releasing its icy contents into space through significant fissures in its shell.
Appearance and Trajectory
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Over several days, the gas cloud of the comet expanded, taking on the appearance of “horns”. This led to some light-hearted comments among astronomers, with some jokingly suggesting it looked like a spaceship straight out of a science fiction novel. The most recent eruption was detected on October 5, with the comet becoming significantly brighter due to the reflection of light from the surrounding gas cloud, which had expanded because of the release of gas from within the comet.
This horned comet is currently navigating the vast coldness of space, heading towards our inner solar system. It will orbit the sun on its highly elliptical path. The closest point to Earth will be reached on April 21 of the upcoming year. There’s a possibility that it might even be visible to the naked eye before it gets a speed boost from the sun and is catapulted towards the outer solar system. After this event, it’s predicted that we won’t see this comet again until 2095.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time 12P/Pons-Brooks has exhibited such behaviour. Another explosion occurred on July 20, marking the first time in nearly 70 years that the comet had erupted in such a manner. This explosion expanded its gas cloud to a staggering 143,000 miles, approximately 7,000 times wider than its nucleus. The size of the gas cloud during the most recent eruption remains uncertain, but it’s believed to have returned to near its original size by now.
As the comet continues its journey and gets closer to the sun, it’s expected to be exposed to more solar radiation. This could lead to even more intense eruptions in the future.
Final Thoughts on this horned comet coming to Earth
The universe never ceases to amaze and surprise us with its vast mysteries and phenomena. The horned comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is just another testament to the wonders of the cosmos. While it poses no immediate threat to Earth, its unique characteristics and behaviour make it a subject of great interest to astronomers and space enthusiasts alike.
As we await its closest approach next year, one can only marvel at the intricacies of our universe and the celestial bodies that inhabit it.
What do you make of this news? Are you worried (as I am) about this horned comet racing towards Earth? Do you think that we have an Armageddon situation on our hands?