Don't miss Comet Mother of Dragons, currently visible in the night sky

Don't miss Comet Mother of Dragons, currently visible in the night sky

Its last visit dates back to 1954. Therefore, it is a rare phenomenon currently visible in the sky: the observation of a rare comet, which astronomers call the “Mother of Dragons.”

Celestial phenomenon lovers, you will be served! Nicknamed the “Mother of Dragons” or “Devil’s Comet” because of the two horns that form its hair, Comet 12b/Pons-Brooks, which is larger than Mount Everest, is currently visible in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere, much to the delight of astronomy enthusiasts. This scene can be seen about an hour after sunset above the western horizon. If you're lucky, you can view it with binoculars or even the naked eye. A small telescope will still give you better observing opportunities!

Cryovolcanic activity

This phenomenon will be at its peak on April 21, when Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks will reach perihelion: the point of its orbit closest to the Sun. As it gets closer and closer, solar radiation heats its core, which is about 30 kilometers in diameter, or 3.5 times the size of Mount Everest (which is 8,848 meters tall).

Gases from this melting make their way to the surface and escape into space, forming a trail of gas and dust that suddenly brightens, which is called cryovolcanic activity.

A particularly rare phenomenon

To monitor this cryovolcanic activity, you can use TheSkyLive. The site provides a sky map to help you locate the comet based on your geographical location. The Stellarium app (available for free on iOS and Android) also lets you identify the comet. Simply point your smartphone towards the sky to see the names of different celestial bodies. The comet has been identified as M31, which corresponds to its classification in the Charles Messier catalog.

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Regardless of the means used, don't miss the “Mother of Dragons” clip! The last time the sky was seen was in 1954. Then we will have to wait until 2095 to see it light up our skies again.

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