Recently discovered comet, known asC / 2019 Y4 or just ATLAS, is approaching our Sun and is rapidly increasing in brightness. An unusual celestial object was first discovered on December 28, 2019 using a robotic astronomical survey system located in Hawaii. At the time of its discovery, the Atlas was located at a distance of several hundred million kilometers from the Sun and was approximately 398,000 times dimmer than the stars in its background. However, now, having approached our planet, earth observers will be able to see the comet with the naked eye. When and where will it be possible to observe the approach of our planet to the space wanderer?
A huge comet flies to Earth
In the solar system there is a huge amountcomets. Born in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud (which, by the way, remains a hypothetical place today), tailed wanderers head for the Solar System, delighting us with their unusual appearance. Some of them are lucky and, having made a revolution around the Sun, comets return to where they came from. Others have to stay in the vicinity of our luminary, where they, gradually losing all their substance, fall apart and evaporate into space. A similar sad fate awaits, most likely, the Atlas. The fact is that judging by the latest images, the comet becomes brighter and brighter, which can indicate an active loss of matter from the surface of a space object. Due to the increased brightness of the comet, today we can already see the tailed wanderer using an amateur astronomical telescope. With all this, if the brightness of the comet continues to grow at its current speed, in May we will be able to observe the space object even with the naked eye, reports newsweek.com.
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Like other comets, the Atlas is brighter inas one approaches the Sun, simultaneously exploding from an increasing amount of received radiation from the star. Dumping a large amount of material in the form of frozen volatile gases, the comet quickly brightens and risks no longer returning to its native land.
The comet closest to the Sun is May 312020, when the object is even closer to our star than Mercury - the planet closest to the Sun. This moment will become crucial for the Atlas, because during this close approach, the brightness of the comet is expected to peak, which could potentially make it as bright as the planet Venus in the night sky.
Although the further fate of the comet remainsunknown, the speed with which the Atlas brightens has slightly decreased in recent days, which has caused questions from earthly observers. However, even in the case of a slight decrease in brightness, the comet's approach to the Sun should make the detected object one of the brightest objects in the sky. So, the comet, most likely, will be able to compete in brightness with another bright comet, relatively recently also flying past the Earth - the Hale-Bopp comet. Then the comet could be observed with the naked eye in the night sky for 18 months, and its very arrival was associated with a visit to our planet by an alien ship, which caused a surge of mass suicides in 1997.
In 2018, my colleague Ilya Hel wrote an article on how humanity will get to the edge of the solar system. I recommend reading it!
Let's hope that this time our populationthe planet will be more informed about the nature of an unusual celestial phenomenon. In any case, the comet that traveled the path that took her a little more than 6,000 years, obviously flew into the inner part of the solar system not to properly frighten the population of our blue ball. Although, who knows ...
Meanwhile, as mentioned above, mostcomets falling into the trap of our red-hot Sun are gradually melting and evaporating. However, earlier we at Hi-News.ru wrote that there are unexpected exceptions to this rule. You can read more about how some ice wanderers can survive when they meet the Sun in this article.