Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks (2024) Excited about the current return

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks returns

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks returns for the first time in 70 years. It is expected brighten up to 4.5 mag in 2024 spring.  Now is time to provide more information on this comet that is visible in our morning skies

March, 2024 Update:

It currently is reported to have an observed magnitude of 5.5 and is above the Square of Pegasus  (above the upper left corner of the Square) making it an object for the morning sky. It will be potentially visible during the totality of the April 8th Eclipse. But assistance of binoculars might be needed to make this possible. During March we can watch it progress across the Sky in the early morning hours.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks and the Total Solar Eclipse:

By mid February the comet had brightened to a magnitude of 7.5 and had developed an ion tail about two degrees long that featured jets and filaments. There will be a solar eclipse on 8 April 2024 with the comet 25 degrees from the Sun. 

On the day of the eclipse, Mercury and Venus will be visible near the Sun/Moon but other planets will be visible. Saturn/Mars in the West. and Jupiter and the Comet in East. All this will stand high in the sky, almost overhead. I am not sure if there has been a comet visible at the same time as a total eclipse, but I suspect this is a rare event and visibility will be an exceptional event if it is even possible to observe!

Image generated using the sky Live.

The Sky April 8 from Texas

Closest Approach and Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Behavior

The Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks perihelion passage (Closest approach to the Sun) is on 21 April 2024 at 0.781 AU (116.8 million km) from the Sun with a velocity with respect to the Sun of 47.1 km/s.  The closest approach to Earth will be 42 days later on 2 June 2024 when it will be 1.55 AU (232 million km) from Earth. Near perihelion passage the comet is expected to brighten to about magnitude 4.5 (around 400x brighter than the July 2023 outburst).  This comet is prone to Outbursts, will it do it when you are looking at it?

Other Notable Encounters that lie ahead

As the comet moves across the sky over the next 2 months we will get some great cameos of the Comet with significant astronomical Objects. Some of these events are as follows:

  • 9th of March under the Andromeda Galaxy (M31)
  • 21st of March in the evening sky near M33 the Triangulum Galaxy
  • 8th of April to the East of the Sun/Moon in the Evening
  • 11th of April at Sunset: Comet and Jupiter
  • End of April comet heads south and is out of view from Northern Latitudes, before this it will be low in the west after sunset.
Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

Get accurate coordinates for your time and your location

Follow this link to find out how to do this

More Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks Information here

An Interesting news article regarding the comet is here

More on comets on this site is found here along with a lot of other interesting information.

March 6, 2024
by Roger Nelson

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