As it crosses Earth’s orbit for the first-time in over 70,000 years, the newly discovered Comet Leonard will lighten up the skies.

As it brightens during December, you will see it in the Northern Hemisphere’s pre-dawn skies.

Astronomers believe that the bright green iceball may be visible later in the month, just after sunset. 

Due to its warm interior made of icy rock, it has a green tail. It emits blue dust first, followed by yellow and white then finally green.

If it changes to a teal-colored colour it indicates it is hot, has lots of diatomic carbon, and may be at the highest risk for breaking up. 

Unfortunately for skywatchers in the UK, it may be more difficult to see Leonard around the time of its closest approach because of its low position on the south-eastern horizon before twilight.

Britons do better looking in the morning, at 04:00 GMT. This will allow them to see up until December 10.

North America and the Southern Hemisphere will have the best views of the comet on December 14th. The comet may also be visible after sunset.

You may be lucky enough to see Leonard, depending on your location in the world, at sunset on the southwest horizon.  

It is predicted to shine brightest in 2021. own Twitter account So stargazers are able to stay informed about what’s happening. 

It was discovered by astronomer Gregory J Leonard on January 3 at the Mount Lemmon Infrared Observatory in Arizona and catalogued as C/2021 AI.

Comet Leonard, a newly discovered comet (pictured), will light up the sky as it passes Earth this month for the first-time in over 70,000 years.

The object, catalogued as C/2021 AI, was discovered by astronomer Gregory J Leonard on January 3 at the Mount Lemmon Infrared Observatory in Arizona

Gregory J Leonard discovered the object and gave it the name C/2021 AI.

WHY DOES COMET LEONARD HAVE A GREEN TAIL? 

Leonard is known for having a green tail due to his icy rocks interior that heats up when it comes closer to the sun. First, it emits blue dust and then, yellow, white and finally, green.

If it changes to a teal-colored colour it indicates it is hot, has lots of diatomic carbon, and may be at the highest risk for breaking up. 

After Christmas, the comet will be difficult to see. On January 3, it will pass within 57.2 Million Miles (92,000,000 km) of the sun. 

It will circle our star once it is done. 

The comet, which was discovered in 1999, has been moving towards the Sun and Earth since its discovery. However it has always been very dim. 

While most comets are too faint to be seen by amateur telescopes, Comet Leonard will light up the night skies for a brief time in December.

It should be closest to Earth and at its brightest on December 12, when it will be about 21 million miles (35 million km) away.

It was 16 magnitude and about 160,000 light years from the nearest stars when first seen.  

However, its visual magnitude may reach about four or five at its peak brightness, enough for it to be visible with the naked eye — although it will be very close to the horizon, similar to NEOWISE in 2020.

Hyperbolic orbit means that the comet will pass the sun and be seen from Earth once more.   

It hasn’t always been on a trajectory out of the solar system — until this trip around the sun the comet had a roughly 70,000 year orbital period.

Leonard most likely traveled for 35,000 years, coming inbound about 323 trillion miles (452 billion km), and possibly last saw the inner solar system around 70,000 years before.

Skywatchers who want to view the comet in its entirety, including tail, should be happy that it is an older comet.

A comet that has never passed the sun before — one created in the Oort cloud at the edge of the solar system — is covered in volatile material including carbon dioxide, nitrogen and carbon monoxide that vaporise as they approach the sun.

The brightening of the period causes it to become very visible, but the light eventually slows and disappears when it is close to Earth and the sun. It’s unlikely that naked eyes will be able to see it.

Unfortunately for skywatchers in the UK, it may be more difficult to see Leonard (pictured) at its closest approach because of its low position on the south-eastern horizon before twilight

It may prove more difficult for UK skywatchers to view Leonard (pictured) from the closest position due to its low location on the south-eastern Horizon before twilight.

A comet such as Leonard, which has been around the sun before, has less volatility. It is therefore more likely that it will be able retain its brightness when closer to the sun.

Leonard is also a rapidly moving comet — travelling at 254,399 km per hour relative to the Earth — that is 70.6 km per second.

After Christmas, the comet will be difficult to see. On January 3, it will pass within 57.2 Million Miles (92,000,000 km) of the sun. 

It will circle our star once it is done. 

Last year NEOWISE, a long period comet, was visible in the night sky around most of the world including a long, clear tail — making it one of the brightest naked eye comets in years. 

Explained – The differences between an asterroid and meteorite, or other space rocks

This article is about asteroid This is large piece of rock leftover from early solar system collisions. The majority are between Mars, Jupiter and the Main Belt.

Comet A rock with methane, ice and other compounds. They orbit much farther out than the sun.

Meteor It is what Astronomers refer to as an “flash of light” in the atmosphere, when debris has burned up.

The debris is also known as “a” meteoroid. They are often so tiny that they evaporate in the air.

It is called “a meteoroid” if it reaches Earth. Meteorite.

Asteroids and comets are the usual sources of meteoroids, meteoroids, and meteorites.

If Earth crosses the tail of comet, some of its debris is emitted into the atmosphere. This creates a meteor shower.