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A rare celestial spectacle can still be seen in the skies over Germany until mid-April

A rare celestial spectacle can still be seen in the skies over Germany until mid-April

  1. ruhr24
  2. service
Every 70 years, a special comet can be seen from Earth for several days. © Michael Jagger/Imago

A rare sight can currently be seen in the skies of Germany, which can only be seen from Earth every 70 years.

Germany – It's farther from the sun, yet you can see it in the dark: Comet 12 P/Pons-Brooks can be seen from Earth about every 70 years, as it currently does. According to amateur astronomer Michael Jagger, there is a chance to discover the rare celestial spectacle with the naked eye, ideally from the mountain.

A rare celestial spectacle can still be seen in the skies over Germany until mid-April

Jäger, who imaged the comet from Austria in March, explains that the comet is prone to bursts of brightness. On its surface there are hot springs that emit gases and dust. These give the comet its distinctive yellow-green tail.

Uwe Pilz, president of the Association of Star Lovers, confirms that binoculars are necessary to observe the comet. The comet lies very low in the evening sky and is best seen in the northwest. The optimal time for observing is late twilight, before the sky becomes completely dark, between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm, depending on the location. A different kind of celestial spectacle can also be seen in North Rhine-Westphalia in February.

The green comet currently in the sky: This is how you can see the celestial landscape

Beginners have a good opportunity to discover the comet until the beginning of April, provided the weather cooperates. For astronomers, April 10 is the last day of observing. The comet, whose size is estimated at 30 kilometers, is located about 240 million kilometers from Earth (read more service news on RUHR24).

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The coma is a foggy envelope around the comet’s nucleus, and the tail is formed when the comet approaches the sun and heats up. At 12 P/Pons, the tail is exceptionally long, reaching more than ten million kilometers. Jagger compares the comet to Halley's Comet and describes it as one of the largest periodic comets known.

Seeing comets in the skies of Germany: Not all of them are visible with the naked eye

Not everything related to comets can be seen with the naked eye. Explosions on the comet's surface can only be seen in specially edited images. Comet Pons-Brooks was originally discovered in July 1812, and has a long history of observations.

Comets that originate from the cold edge of our solar system are remnants of the time when the planets formed. They differ from asteroids in their high content of volatile substances. Sometimes gravity or collisions bring them close to the Sun or Earth, giving us unique observational opportunities. German Press Agency/Edited by Lisa Siegel