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‘Devil Comet’ to make rare appearance in Australian skies later this month

This month, stargazers are in for an extraordinary delight as the elusive ‘Devil Comet’ graces Australian skies for the first time in seven decades.

Australian skies will host a rare sight this month as the Devil Comet makes its first appearance in 70 years. Comet 12/P Pons-Brooks, dubbed the “Mother of Dragons” for its horned tail-like appearance, is scheduled to grace the early hours of April 22.

Stargazers across Australia will have a limited window to witness the comet’s spectacle without any special equipment just before sunrise. This extraordinary celestial event is attributed to cryo-volcanic eruptions of ice and is comparable in size to Mount Everest.

As the sun’s warmth triggers the sublimation of ice into gas, a distinctive “fuzzy green haze” will spread across the night sky.

Astrophysicist Brad Tucker from the Australian National University, explained the occurrence will be similar to Hailey’s comet, as the comet goes around and gets closer to the sun, the ice will heat up and turn into a gas.

While seasoned observers in the Northern Hemisphere have been tracking the comet since mid-March using telescopes, its visibility will extend to Southern skies from mid-April onwards.

Australians will have the best opportunity to catch sight of the comet around Anzac Day, lasting for approximately one to two weeks. Initially, it will appear low in the western skies, so enthusiasts are encouraged to head west for an unobstructed view. For an enhanced viewing experience, professionals recommend using binoculars or a telescope.

As the comet approaches its closest point to Earth in June, it will gradually diminish in brightness and become imperceptible to the naked eye by July.

Keen stargazers have welcomed a lot of sky activity in the last month, between the geomagnetic storm which was triggered by a coronal mass ejection (CME) or substantial releases of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun.

To the penumbral lunar eclipse which occurs when the moon almost perfectly align with the sun and Earth. The alignment results in the outer edge of Earthโ€™s shadow, known as the penumbra, casting onto the moonโ€™s surface.

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