Be alarmed of the giant comet called Atlas that’s going to appear in the night sky around the 29th and the 30th of April. We’ll be able to see this amazing incident as it is going to be very close to the Earth.
This comet will be extremely wonderful to see in the night sky during this time as it moves closer to the inner solar system. The comet is also known as the ‘comet of a generation”. However, the size of this unusual rocky ice core isn’t yet clearly estimated, but the scientists have estimated it to be only a few miles across with a quite large atmosphere.
Nowadays, it’s very close to the orbit of the planet Mars. But according to the information released, the speed of the comet increases as it makes its way towards the sun. Therefore, the scientists expect this comet to reach the earth at a very high speed.
Michael Jäger was able to capture an incredible photograph of this particular comet (C/2019 Y4 ATLAS) on the 18th of March 2020. The photograph showed the bright greenish hue covering its surrounding.
The comet was discovered In December for the first time. However, the gaseous pocket surrounding it extended in diameter to an astounding 447,387 miles! Better for you to get to know the diameter of the Sun, and it is 865,370 miles while Jupiter 86,881 miles and among all, the figures read the diameter of the Earth as 7,917 miles.
Although it required telescopes to spot this into our eyes on the 28th of December, it could now be seen using binoculars as the brightness of it increases day by day.
I hope you’ve heard that the comets have tails with them. The tail of the Atlas is around the same size of its atmosphere that can be observed in the photographs captured by Austrian photographer, Michael Jäger .
Don’t be afraid, as I told you to watch this huge comet which is going to move close to our planet. This will cause us no threat as it’s merely 72 million miles away!
According to the reports of the SpaceWeatherArchive , it’s common for the comets to grow into such huge sizes as they ‘spew prodigious amounts of gas and dust into space’. These reports further said, ‘Comet 17P/Holmes partially exploded and, for a while, had an atmosphere even larger than the sun,’
At first, Atlas was discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system in Hawaii and the name is an acronym of this system. It’s yet unknown whether ATLAS will be larger than The Great Comet of 1811.
Another comet named Hale-Bopp was the last brightest comet which was able to be seen without the help of a telescope in 1997. Therefore, Atlas is going to be a quite special event for the astronomers as well as the new stargazers.
The brightness of the comet has improved 4 000-fold since it was at the beginning, in December. Therefore we should be able to see it from our naked eye by the month of April.
The comet was initially sighted in Ursa Major and it emerged 398,000 times more subdued than the stars which are normally visible to the naked eye from Earth. By now, it is glowing like an 8th magnitude star but still not invisible to our naked eye. But, this could be easily sighted using a standard telescope.
Karl Battams from the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC stated “Right now the comet is releasing huge amounts of its frozen volatiles (gases), that’s why it is brightening so fast”
He also said “As they get closer to the sun they gas off this material and we get this amazing display. It’s already at a level of brightness that you can see through binoculars — this beautiful greenish halo around it and a bit of development of the tail”
Matthijs Burgmeijer has said that this comet is going to be the most spectacular and illuminated comet ever known, if it’s going to get more and more bright. But, the comets are normally volatile and there is no actual way of getting to know the exact happening within the next few weeks.
A best example of a “poor show” for a comet was Ison, which had all the aspects to be something spectacular. Unfortunately, it failed thus it wasn’t able to give us the show we expected.
SpaceWeatherArchive said that comets must hold onto its ice to live long enough to be visible to our naked eyes. A large nucleus with a storage of frozen gas is an essential for its survival. It is something that astronomers are still not able to confirm. If it fails to have a large nucleus, then it runs out of gas. This will result in the vanishing of the comet as it approaches the Sun.
Many have different opinions about the survival of Atlas. And also the experts have different reflections on what is going to be visible to us on Earth. By the way, some of them say that this comet will break up before reaching the brightest point from Earth. So, that implies that Atlas is ‘over-achieving’. However, when compared the possibility of losing its strength before reaching the Sun is strong.
Some have the idea that the Atlas is one related to the Great Comet of 1844 as the trajectory and path is a similar one requiring a 6 000 year orbit around the Sun making its way far outside the outer edges of the solar system – 57 billion miles from the Sun approximately.
Some of the astronomers believe that both Atlas and The Great Comet were separated from one large comet formed in the early days of the solar system. They also say that they are not optimistic about its survival.
However, if the comet survives long, it will be potentially visible for us in the North-Northwest sky soon after the darkness falls.
‘It’s going to be fun the next few weeks watching Comet ATLAS develop (and provide a nice distraction from the current state of the world), Carl Hergenrother, a comet observer based in Arizona, wrote. ‘Here’s to good health and clear skies!’
Source of the information: Daily mail