Giant ice volcano “devil” CometThe mountain, which is three times the size of Mount Everest, experienced another explosion on its way to Earth. The comet, also known as 12P/Ponsbrooks, got its nickname from the appearance of two demonic horns during an earlier explosion.
Experts say the Devil’s Comet has become as bright as an elliptical galaxy 600 million light-years from Earth.
Elliot Herrmann, an amateur astronomer based in Arizona, tracking Cryogenic volcanic comet. “Comet 12P appears to be exhibiting more frequent explosions, with new explosions revealed just two weeks after the previous one,” he said in the post.
This “cold volcano” CometIt is approximately 19 miles in diameter and is known for its violent eruptions of ice and gas. This activity created a trail resembling the devil’s horns, creating a mesmerizing sight in space.
Discovered in 1812, 12P/Ponsbrooks is on an orbit that will bring it closest to Earth in June 2024. Despite its proximity, it poses no threat to Earth. During this close approach, it will be visible to the naked eye as a faint star-like object with a distinct tail.
Comet Like 12P/Ponsbrooks, it consists of an icy core surrounded by a coma, a cloud of gas and dust. Its classification as a cryovolcanic comet indicates that it exhibits volcanic behavior.
However, instead of spewing out molten rock, it releases gas and ice, especially when it gets close to the Sun. As the comet approaches the Sun, its temperature and pressure increase, releasing a burst of nitrogen and carbon monoxide and pushing ice fragments from its core.
Herrmann had previously observed a dramatic brightening of the comet on October 31, indicating a new burst of ice-volcanic activity. The explosion was the second in the past month and the third since July.
12P/Pons Brooks orbits the sun, drawn by the sun’s gravity, and takes 71 years to complete the journey. This period is relatively short compared to most comets, which can take thousands of years to complete one orbit around the sun.
Advanced elliptical orbit
Comets like Comet 12P/Ponsbrooks have highly elliptical orbits, moving closer to the Sun at perihelion and farther away from the Sun at aphelion. As it approaches the Sun, its speed increases significantly.
The Devil’s Comet is currently hurtling towards the sun at more than 40,000 miles per hour. This speed is expected to increase to more than 100,000 miles per hour as it approaches perihelion.
Its closest approach to the sun will occur on April 21 next year, followed by its closest approach to Earth on June 2. After this encounter, the comet will be propelled toward the outer solar system, not returning until 2095.
Learn more about comets
Comets provide fascinating insights into the early solar system and the origin of life. These objects are primarily composed of frozen gas, rock, and dust.
As a comet approaches the Sun, its ice warms and evaporates, releasing gas and dust to form a glowing head known as a coma. Radiation pressure and the solar wind blow this material away, forming the comet’s characteristic tail.
There are usually two tails. The first is the dust tail (curved and yellowish). The second is the ion’s tail (straight and bluish), pointing away from the Sun.
components of life
Astronomers believe that comets are remnants of the early solar system, which formed more than 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists call them “ice time capsules.”
These consist primarily of water ice and frozen carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and ammonia. This chunk of ice is mixed with dust and rock particles, making it look like a dirty snowball.
Types of comets
Short-period comets have orbits of less than 200 years. They often originate from the Kuiper Belt, a region filled with icy objects beyond Neptune.
The orbits of long-period comets span more than 200 years. Astronomers believe they came from the Oort cloud, a distant spherical shell surrounding the solar system.
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