Comet Leonard is at its closest to Earth right now. Here’s how to spot it.

Home News Skywatching Astrophotographer Chris Schur captures this stunning photo of Comet Leonard on Dec. 4, 2021 from Payson, Arizona using a 10-inch Newtonian telescope and 60-minute camera exposure. (Image credit: Chris Schur) Comet Leonard, the brightest comet of the year, made its closest approach to Earth today (Dec. 12) and should be visible through…

Astrophotographer Chris Schur captures this stunning photo of Comet Leonard on Dec. 4, 2021 from Payson, Arizona using a 10-inch Newtonian telescope and 60-minute camera exposure.
Astrophotographer Chris Schur captures this aesthetic photo of Comet Leonard on Dec. 4, 2021 from Payson, Arizona the usage of a 10-inch Newtonian telescope and 60-minute camera exposure. (Image credit: Chris Schur)

Comet Leonard, the brightest comet of the 365 days, made its closest technique to Earth this day (Dec. 12) and would maybe well very neatly be viewed thru binoculars and telescopes, weather permitting.

Officially known as Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard), Comet Leonard became stumbled on in January by astronomer Gregory J. Leonard of the Mount Lemmon Infrared Observatory in Arizona. On Sunday, it passed Earth at an growth of 21 million miles (34 million km), nonetheless is peaceful not viewed to the unaided peer, per EarthSky.org. 

This NASA sky map shows the location of Comet Leonard in the night sky from Dec. 14 to Dec. 25 in 2021.

This NASA sky plan reveals the living of Comet Leonard within the evening sky from Dec. 14 to Dec. 25 in 2021. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On Sunday (tonight), Comet Leonard would maybe even be stumbled on about 30 minutes after sunset in only above the western horizon, per a NASA files. You would possibly well perhaps also peep it again early Monday (Dec. 13), when the comet will upward push above the eastern horizon at 6: 37 a.m. EST, correct 12 minutes after the principle light twilight breaks. 

“This is in a position to be the last morning the comet will doubtless be viewed within the morning sky till March of 2022 when this would possibly occasionally handiest be viewed thru a gargantuan telescope,” NASA officials wrote within the guidelines. 

Monday evening, Comet Leonard will doubtless be viewed about 8 levels above the west-southwestern horizon about 30 minutes after sunset and would maybe well very neatly be about 2 levels above the horizon as evening twilight ends at 5: 50 p.m. EST, NASA added. “This again would maybe well peaceful be a upright time to peep this comet,” NASA wrote. (Level to: Your closed fist held out at arm’s size covers about 10 levels of the evening sky.)

Associated: Comet Leonard is fading and performing irregular

When, or despite the truth that, Comet Leonard will develop into viewed to the unaided peer is peaceful unsafe. The comet is peaceful falling inward in the direction of the sun and would maybe well accomplish its closest sun way on Jan. 3, 2022.

“Looking out on the grime and gas, the modeled peak brightness is anticipated to be round Dec. 13 or 14, 2021, about 1 to 2 days after its closest to the Earth,” NASA wrote in its files. “If the comet is giving off more than a number of grime, this is in a position to well peaceful accomplish the height brighter as a consequence of ahead scattering which would maybe well perhaps shift the height later in the direction of Dec.14.”

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Feature.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and team creator, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and living science, as neatly as skywatching and entertainment. He grew to develop into Feature.com’s Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before becoming a member of Feature.com, Tariq became a team reporter for The Los Angeles Times keeping education and metropolis beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Seaside. He is also an Eagle Scout (dawdle, he has the Feature Exploration benefit badge) and went to Feature Camp four times as a teen and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism levels from the College of Southern California and Sleek York College. To seem his newest venture, you would possibly well apply Tariq on Twitter.