On Tuesday, November 14, the Devil Comet, measuring a staggering 18 miles wide, erupted in a spectacular display reminiscent of devilish horns, spewing out ice and gas into a glowing halo.
The notorious “Devil Comet,” an icy celestial wanderer officially designated as 12P/Pons-Brooks, has unleashed its fourth dramatic eruption as it hurtles toward Earth
Eliot Herman, an amateur astronomer in Arizona, spotted this colossal cryogenic outburst shortly after it commenced. This outburst marks the largest display yet from the Devil Comet since its discovery in 1812. Herman, diligently observing the Devil Comet almost nightly, witnessed a 100-fold increase in its brightness during this event.
The Devil Comet, hurtling through the inner solar system at a mind-boggling speed of 40,000 mph, is slated to make its closest approach to Earth on June 2, 2024, coming within 144 million miles of our planet. This icy behemoth will make a close pass by the sun on April 24, 2024, drawing closer to our star than Earth, but not as close as Venus.
The Devil Comet’s cryovolcanic nature results in explosive outbursts, where solid ice transforms directly into gas, creating a stunning spectacle as the material blasts off its surface
The unique appearance of devilish horns is a consequence of the comet‘s peculiar shell, limiting the growth of its coma in certain regions while material billows out from other areas. The Devil Comet, with its erratic 71-year orbit, spends the majority of its time in the outer reaches of our solar system, offering a rare opportunity for astronomers to witness its celestial theatrics as it ventures closer to Earth. Its recent eruptions, including the latest on November 14, add another chapter to the captivating tale of this cosmic vagabond.