Next to the Colima volcano or in the sky of Yucatan: amazing pictures of Comet Leonard from Mexico

Comet Leonard in the sky of Yucatan. Photo taken from the magical town of Valladolid (Photo: Twitter @ Robert_Fedez / via webcamsdemexico)

When they found him, they baptized him “Christmas Guilty”. And they were right.

Leonard was completely unexpected. Astronomers initially predicted that their best appearance would occur in the first two weeks of December. In addition, they indicated that we can probably see it with the naked eye from different points of the globe. However, night after night, the elusive comet was hiding in the sky and it was hard to find telescope or binoculars. And now it seems that, in fact, he’s been saving himself to do his great job Holidays.

On December 25, Comet C / 2021 A1 It can be seen from the countries of the southern hemisphere, without the need to use professional monitoring tools. the universe traveler It modified its internal structure and recorded several explosions in recent weeks. That’s his reason brightness It stands out in the darkness of the heavenly vault.

In Mexico, some lucky people managed to capture Leonard at Christmas. Astrophotographer Robert Fernandez, from Magical Town in Valladolid, Yucatan, just got one of his most special postcards. The photo was taken just after sunset, at 6:40 p.m. CST.

Another amazing composition is L time lapse Created by Raúl Arámbula to show the passage of a comet next to Colima volcano. The scientist and photographer explained through his Twitter account, M_Dr_Vulcano, that he obtained the photos around 7:45 pm Central Mexico time, and in a southwesterly direction. He took them on December 25th.

Comet Leonard next to Colima volcano (Photo: Raúl Arambolla via Twitterwebcamsdemexico)
Comet Leonard next to Colima volcano (Photo: Raúl Arambolla via Twitterwebcamsdemexico)

The user serrato_d who took his picture from GuanajuatoNikon 3400, one five-second shot. He was able to observe Leonard on Monday, December 20, around 7:30 p.m. CST.

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If you weren’t able to think of this orb, you might still have one last chance. Since Mexico is located in the Northern Hemisphere, it is very important to search for it very dark sky, Far away from the light pollution of big cities. The perfect time to find out would be fair after Sun set, Between 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Your point of view southwest. If you do not know how to locate this cardinal point, use the compass of the cell phone.

According to many observers, the star has been easy to see with the naked eye in recent days. However, finding it in the middle of the sky will be easier if you use binoculars or a small telescope.

In addition, it will be very important to try it on the nights of 27, 28 or 29 December at the latest. This is because Leonard is closer and closer to the sun and as the days go by it will be difficult to notice, due to the light that the star radiates. After reaching perihelion or the point of its orbit closest to the King Star, You will never return to this part of the universe So, this time yes, it will be our last chance to see the strange visitor from Oort cloud.

“We can say that it is a unique opportunity because after passing through the closest point to the sun, it will be expelled from the solar system. The interaction with the different planets of the sun has modified the orbit of this comet and we will practically say goodbye,” explained researcher at the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM, Fernando Avila Castro. .

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According to astronomers, Leonard will reach its lowest distance from the Sun on January 3, 2022.

Comet Leonard imaged from Guanajuato, on December 20 (Image: Twitter @serrato_d)
Comet Leonard imaged from Guanajuato, on December 20 (Image: Twitter @serrato_d)

All About Leonard: Back to the Sun in 80,000 Years

Comet Leonard was discovered on January 3, 2021 in the United States. On that day, the astronomer Gregory J. Leonard Found blurry spot In some telescope pictures Mount Lemon Observatorio, from the University of Arizona. The nebula did not appear in any record and soon experts knew it was a new comet approaching the sun and classified it as C/2021 A1 Leonard, in honor of the man who discovered it.

For astronomers it was an unknown object. His last visit to Earth’s vicinity was 80,000 years ago, the time it takes to orbit the Sun. About 35,000 years ago, Leonard made his way back to the Astro Ray. By the time he was recognized earlier this year, he was in his prime Jupiter. In early January, it will reach perihelion, or the closest approach to the sun. Once it reaches the star, it will leave our solar system and never return. For this reason, experts recommend making one last sighting attempt, as it is an “exceptional sight.”

Comets are classified first according to their orbit but also according to their source. In general, these types of stars come from two regions of the solar system.

The former originated from Kuiper belt Which lies between 30 and 100 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun (astronomical units). It is short-lived, as it takes less than 200 years to circle the star.

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The latter comes from a different region: the mysterious Oort Cloud. These are considered long-lived, as they take more than two centuries to complete their orbit. the Noby de Ort is being A ball of icy rock is more than 2,000 astronomical units away. There Leonard grew up. Astronomers explain that gravitational disturbances between the rocks themselves, or the gravitational pull of giant planets, cause the icy rocks to fling toward the outer regions of the Solar System and get closer to our star, becoming comets.

NASA explains that comets Cut ice, rock and gas which fly in space” and heat up as they approach our star. Their tails are the result of the solar wind.

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