The comet that is approaching to our Earth is discovered on December 28, 2019, in the zone of Ursa Major. Currently, it is located in Mars’ orbit, but it is approaching our planet. It was noticed by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System, also known as ATLAS. Experts claim that if the comet doesn’t break up in pieces, it will reach the closest point to the Sun.
ATLAS is the comet that is five-time larger than the size of Jupiter, which means that it is half of the size of the Sun. Because of it, when it passes next to the Earth, we will see something brighter than Venus. The precise size of the rocky ice core of the strange comet isn’t announced, but it is close as few miles, and it has a much massive atmosphere.
As we already said, ATLAS is currently in Mars’s Orbit, but its speed is increasing, and it is coming near the Earth. The comet will reach its closest point to our planet by the end of April. As it comes closer to the Sun, it is brighter and will reach to be the brightest object during the night, and became the comet of the generation.
ATLAS firstly was discovered on December 28, 2019, and it was detected as a comet with a diameter of 447,387 miles. On the other hand, the Sun has a diameter of 865,370 miles, but Jupiter has a diameter which is five times smaller than the comet, only 7,917 miles.
According to the experts, we don’t have to panic because it represents no danger to Earth. The closest point that it will reach our planet is going to be more than 72 million miles. Furthermore, the new comet has a tail that is long as its atmosphere, said Michael Jager from Austria, who is the one capturing images of the comet.
SpaceWeatherArchive reported that we shouldn’t find odd the fact that some comets grow that large as they throw prodigious amounts of gas and dust into space.
An astronomy website shared that the comet 17P/Holmes, when exploded, had an atmosphere that was larger than the Sun. Also, Great Comet in 1811, had come with the size of the Sun. Well, we need to wait and see whether the comet ATLAS will surpass the comets in the past, and become the comet over the comets.
The expected comet was noticed by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system, and that is why the name is ATLAS. The last comet that could be seen from the northern hemisphere was noticed in 1997, and it was Hale-Bopp, which was a rare event for the astronomers. At that time they have required a telescope, but now, once it is closer, it is brighter, and we can see it with binoculars. The glow of ATLAS will be amplified by the Sun, but it is also brighter than the astronomers expected it would be until now.
Some people like Daniel Brown, an astronomy expert, believes that it will be a promising comet. And also, he says that as time passes, by the end of April, we will be witnesses of a stunning celestial event.
Until today, it represents the most massive green object in the Solar System. The color is made from diatomic carbon, which is a molecule with green color, often found in comets. The comet releases a beautiful green glow when the gas is formed in the near-vacuum of space.
Astronomers say that from day one of its discovering until now, there was a 4,000-fold increase in brightness. In the beginning, the comet was in Ursa Major and appeared 398,000 times dimmer in comparison to the stars that are vivid with a naked eye. At this moment, it is bright as an 8th magnitude star, which means that it is still invisible to a naked eye, but garden telescopes can quickly notice it. As it gets closer to the Sun, this comet emits better light. The reason why the comet is becoming brighter every moment is because it is throwing vast amounts of frozen gases, volatiles, according to Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab, Washington DC. Also, he adds that this is the time where the comet is invisible to the naked eye, but it is easily vivid with binoculars.
Astronomer Matthijs Burgmeijer declared that if the assumptions become true, then this comet will be the most spectacular one since the records began.
The experts claim that ATLAS will reach from a conservative magnitude +2, which means it will be visible to the naked eye, to a great magnitude -11, which will make the comet brightest and most spectacular since their recording has started.
Our job now is to wait, and to be patient enough, because the comets can be unpredictable. Maybe this comet will be just as the previous, Ison, which was promising but didn’t give any results.
For one comet to be visible with a naked eye, it should be able to hold on to its ice. But, to do the previously mentioned process, it needs to have a large nucleus with a store of frozen gas. And the astronomers can’t confirm it at the moment, because it is too far from us. If the comet doesn’t contain a large nucleus, it will waste its gas, which will make it crumble and fade as it is approaching the Sun.
Battams says that he doesn’t have a favorable opinion of the survival of the comet, because according to him, it will break before it reaches its brightest point. According to his intuition, ATLAS is over-achieving, and because of that, it will start to fall apart, and completely vanish even before it is visible to the Earth.
Because of the similar trajectory and orbit, many scientists link this space object to the Great Comet of 1844. The trajectory of the comet would need more than 6,000-year orbit around the Sun, and it would take beyond the outer edges of the solar system.
Also, when the night comes, the comet will be visible in the north-northwest sky, and by the end of April, it will be visible with the naked eye. It is fascinating to see the development of the comet ATLAS during the upcoming weeks, especially for the astronomers who have the best equipment for these kinds of events.
There are different types of space rocks.
Asteroid represents a large chunk of rock that is abandoned from collisions. Mainly they take place between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
Comet represents a rock covered in ice, methane, and many different compounds. They have orbits which take them away, very far from the solar system.
A meteoroid is debris. Mainly meteoroids are miniature, and they are released in the atmosphere.
When one of these meteoroids reaches Earth, it becomes a meteorite.
Asteroids and comets usually create meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites. When the Earth goes through the tail of a particular comet, the debris burns certain ingredients in the atmosphere, and that is how the meteor shower is created.