Some Light In These Dark Times, Comet Atlas

in science •  2 months ago  (edited)

Did you hear about the newest comet, Atlas? Probably not because of the Corona Virus, even though you've been locked up in your house for the past week!

On Dec. 28, 2019 astronomers discovered the comet using a planetary alert system called Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, ATLAS, located in Hawaii. Nice to know we have some eyes on near Earth asteroids!

Atlas.jpeg

Source - https://www.cnet.com/news/brightening-comet-atlas-could-soon-lift-your-gaze-and-spirits-just-a-little/

The comet is moving in towards the sun, increasing it's visibility as it melts and off gasses. Right now you can see it if you have a telescope, but by May it will become visible to the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere's night sky. There are some reports that it will become as bright as Venus!

The last spectacular comet I remember was Hyakutake, back in 1996. At around 2am in the morning it was incredible to see in the night sky. Hyakutake was extremely bright and it's tail trialed far behind it across the sky. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. This photo gives you a very good and accurate visual of what it looked like in person.

HY96-213w.jpg

Source- http://astropixels.com/comets/hyakutake/HY96-213.html

The virus is playing itself out, 99.9% of us will still be here, so if you are looking for something to look forward to mark your calendars for May. Comets like this only come around once in a decade or two and may even usher in a new, positive time in your life!

Further reading about Comet Atlas here:
https://www.newsweek.com/comet-atlas-bright-visible-earth-naked-eye-1493912

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

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I got to see Hyakutake from a bluff in AZ against the dark desert sky. An unforgettable experience! I am looking forward to seeing Atlas. Glad you are well. We are just going into the depths of the virus here.

It really was an amazing visual wasn't it? I don't much remember Halley's or Hale Bopp, but vividly remember Hyakutake.

Doing well, Corona free despite being in two different hot spots. Stay safe, load up on Zinc and VC, but don't panic because there are 3 treatments out there, Avigan, Chloroquine and Remedisvir. There may be a 4th I'm looking into.

Because I have MS I have been totally isolated, so I'm doing all I can to be safe. This too shall pass - one way or another! ❤️

Yes, it will pass. Stay safe and thank you for the re-tweet.

Whoa Cool, too bad my night skies are full of clouds for the past week.

It will become visible to the naked eye in May. However, it's possible it could break up and essentially disappear...

Might have to go up to Wisconsin to the mountains to view it.

Wow! That must have been some view!

Hayakutake was incredible. I'm hoping Atlas will be memorable as well!

Manually curated by the Qurator Team. Keep up the good work!