The « Christmas comet » puts on a show

As always, comets are full of surprises and unpredictable. Comet Leonard is no exception. Here are the most beautiful photos of his recent convulsions, observed since December 20.

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[EN VIDÉO] Understanding Comet Leonard in a Minute
As Comet Leonard crosses the night sky at the end of 2021, approaching the Sun while passing through the environment close to Earth.

It is not yet too late to observer C/2021 A1 (Leonard) alias Comet Leonard, this year’s brightest.

Passed near Earth on December 12, and very close to Venus on the 17th, she now continues her ride towards the Soleil whose perihelion – the point of its orbit closest to the stellar focus – will be January 3, 2022 (one year exactly after its discovery).

Burst of activity for comet Leonard

Over the past two days, observers around the world have reported a significant increase in its brightness, linked to a sudden burst of activity. L’star diffuse in appearance was easily discernible at dusk, not far from Venus.

Traveling in the hottest region of Solar system, it is normal for its ice cream to sublimate, spilling in its wake gas and dust trapped there. Weakened, some blocks or cliffs on the lumpy core can suddenly collapse, and cause eruptions visible from Earth. Under the shock of temperatures and solar wind, the star can also be dislocated.

Astrophotographers who, for some, have been following his wanderings in the terrestrial sky for months, the spectacle was incredible, as evidenced by the images they published on the social networks. The comet has hair in the wind, in the solar wind, therefore the opposite of our Star. In some photos, it evokes the astonished mane of lion with long tentacles undulating in space, and which is none other than the mark of recent disturbances.

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