The Universe is like a cosmic candy store, filled to the brim with all sorts of heavenly treats. And one of the most abundant treats in the Universe’s pantry is comets. They’re like the jelly beans of the cosmos, always popping up unexpectedly and keeping astronomers on their toes.
It’s like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?” but with comets instead. One minute you’re gazing out into the vast expanse of space, wondering what secrets it holds, and the next minute BAM! There’s a new comet hurtling through the void and demanding your attention.
And let’s not forget about the names! They’re like something out of a sci-fi novel. Hale-Bopp, McNaught, ISON, Lovejoy – it’s like the Universe’s very own rockstar lineup.
The C/2023 A3 comet is coming soon
A newly discovered comet called C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) is making its first close approach around the sun in 80,000 years, and it’s exciting astronomers around the world. Livescience.com brings details regarding the cosmic object. The comet was first detected by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope project in South Africa on February 22, 2023, and independently by astronomers at the Purple Mountain Observatory in China on January 9, 2023. Both observatories are credited with the discovery of the comet.
Since its discovery, skywatchers around the world have been observing the comet in new and old images, including some taken by a wide-field camera on a telescope at Palomar Observatory in California on December 12, 2022. C/2023 A3 is currently located between Saturn and Jupiter, traveling at a speedy 180,610 mph (290,664 km/h), and it’s expected to make its closest approach to Earth on October 13, 2024.
According to astronomers, C/2023 A3 may appear as bright as a star in the night sky by the fall of 2024. The comet’s closest approach to the sun, known as perihelion, is expected to occur on September 28, 2024, just a few weeks before its closest approach to Earth.
So the next time you look up at the night sky, remember that there’s a whole universe out there just waiting to be explored. And who knows, maybe you’ll be the lucky one to spot the next cosmic candy comet!