What is the Devil Comet?

Pro Search

3 steps completed
Answer
The "Devil Comet" is a nickname given to the comet officially known as 12P/Pons-Brooks. This comet has gained significant attention due to its large size and unique characteristics. It has a diameter of approximately 18.6 miles, making it roughly three times larger than Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth1. The "Devil" nickname comes from an optical illusion created by the comet's eruptions. The comet is cryovolcanic, meaning it has a cold volcano that, when it erupts, emits ice, dust, and gas known as "cryomagma"1. In early October 2023, the comet erupted and emitted a large amount of cryomagma. The sun's rays interacting with the comet and its debris made it appear as if the comet had horns, leading to the "Devil" moniker123. The comet's eruptions also cause it to shine brightly. In July 2023, an outburst from the comet caused its brightness to surge to approximately 100 times its usual appearance2. This increase in brightness is due to the expansion of the comet's coma, which releases gas and ice crystals from its interior, reflecting a greater amount of light back towards Earth2. The Devil Comet orbits the sun approximately every 71 years. It is expected to pass closest to Earth in late April 2024, at which point it may be visible to the naked eye15. After this pass, the comet will not be visible from Earth again until the year 20951. Despite its ominous nickname and large size, the Devil Comet poses no threat to Earth. Its trajectory will not bring it into collision with our planet, and while its eruptions and the resulting brightness may be visible from Earth, they will not have any direct impact on us15.
Related
What is the estimated distance between the Devil Comet and Earth?
What is the composition of the Devil Comet?
What is the history of the Devil Comet?