UAE: Rare "Devil Comet" Spotted in the Sky, Check How to Observe It with the Naked Eye

The current celestial spectacle, a remarkable comet, graces the skies until early June, but seizing a glimpse now offers the prime opportunity.

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Recently sighted in the Abu Dhabi desert, this luminous entity, often referred to as the 'devil comet' due to its distinctive twin protrusions, was immortalized in a captivating image captured by the Al Khatt Astronomical Observatory on March 27.

The International Astronomy Centre (IAC) confirmed that this cosmic wanderer will reach its closest approach to the sun on April 21 and its nearest point to Earth on June 2. Nasa anticipates that this cosmic wanderer will be particularly conspicuous during the total solar eclipse on April 8. Designated as 12P/Pons-Brooks and initially discovered in 1812, this periodic comet orbits the sun once every 71 years, with its last observable appearance from Earth dating back to 1954.

Despite its projected increase in luminosity as it traverses closer, spotting it may become progressively arduous as it nears the horizon and the sun. Therefore, the present moment presents the optimal window for observation, as articulated by the IAC, cautioning that its visibility may diminish towards the end of April.

For those eager to witness this celestial marvel within the UAE, the IAC provides guidance:

  • Orient towards the west approximately 45 minutes post-sunset.
  • Anticipate the comet's presence at an elevation of roughly 15 degrees above the sunset locale.
  • Employ specialized sky mapping applications to pinpoint its celestial coordinates.
  • While discernible to the unaided eye, employing binoculars enhances the viewing experience.
  • Initially manifesting as a faint blur, optimal visibility can be achieved from locations devoid of light pollution, potentially revealing its characteristic tail.

Comets, akin to cosmic snowballs comprised of dust, rock, and ice, undergo transformative processes upon approaching the sun, emitting gases and dust to form a luminous head, oftentimes dwarfing planets in scale, elucidate Nasa.

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