Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks photographed: the shot by the Palidoro Amateur Astronomers Group of Fiumicino


By John

A beautiful close-up of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, approaching the Sun, was obtained by the Palidoro Astrophile Group, operating in the Fiumicino area: the spectacular image was created by Paolo Giangreco Marotta, thanks to one of the 16 telescopes on which can count the Group, and was then developed by Giuseppe Conzo through the sum of 40 poses of 60 seconds each, for a total integration of 40 minutes.

The comet follows an elliptical orbit around the Sun that lasts about 71 years and is now approaching its perihelion, the closest point to our star, which it will reach on April 21st. 12P/Pons-Brooks may also make an appearance during the solar eclipse on April 8, which will only be observable from Central and North America.

«The comet could be visible during the totality of the solar eclipse, as the sky will darken to such an extent that even the stars will appear», explains Giuseppe Conzo, president of the Palidoro Amateur Astronomers Group, to ANSA.

«This object will be difficult to see with the naked eye, but it could be immortalized in photography for the occasion. The comet, in fact, could have a sudden change in brightness in the hours preceding the eclipse.” The celestial body in question is, in fact, a cryovolcanic comet: this means that, from time to time, a combination of ice and gas called “cryomagma” erupts when solar radiation manages to break its frozen shell.

When this happens, the comet's coma expands, making it appear much brighter for several days. Eclipse aside, enthusiasts can admire the comet in the evening sky: «The comet is located in the constellation of Andromeda and is visible shortly after sunset in the North-West direction», adds Conzo.

«However, it will gradually become more and more difficult to identify, because it will be lower and lower on the horizon and will also have to deal with the brightness of the crescent Moon».