A giant comet will pass through the constellation Scorpio this summer

After passing close to Earth last month, comet C/2017 K2 (PanStarrs) continues its way toward the Sun, which will be its closest point at the end of the year. Meanwhile, for all amateurs and curious, the hairy star can currently be observed in the constellation Scorpio, not far from its tentacles.

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[EN VIDÉO] One minute to understand Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein
The largest comet ever discovered will soon cross the solar system, reaching a diameter of 100 kilometers!

When this comet was discovered in 2017 Across The PanStarrs program in Hawaii, was about 2.4 billion kilometers away from us, between Saturn And the Uranusthat is 16 times the distance that separates the Earth from Sun (16 astronomical units) However it was already bright. They show themselves as active at a great distance fromstar Who warms it, the sun surprised Astronomy scientists Which later gave Nakhle the most active comet ever observed.

Five years have passed and now C/2017 K2 (PanStarrs), as it is called, is in solar system internal. On July 14, it passed through our ocean, about 270 million kilometers from Earth. Which is more than Mars (currently 163 million km away). According to the latest notesHubblethe comet should have a nucleus about 18 kilometers long, making it one of the largest ever observed – and not as big as the staggering and gigantic nucleus Bernadelle – Bernstein Which has a diameter of about 100 kilometers! K2 is a very large chunk of ice and dust that mocks most of its congeners we see in passing, much more modest.

Where does the summer comet appear?

C/2017 K2 (PanStarrs) will reach the point of its highly elliptical orbit closest to the Sun, rock bottom, on December 19, after passing 269 million km from it – which is beyond the orbit of Mars, and reduces the chances of the comet becoming too bright. However, many amateur astronomers and also happy curious people who own a telescope or telescope – or meet someone who has one -, try to keep an eye on her all this summer and follow, night after night, the evolution of her hair (coma) in addition to the already impressive and expanding gas and dust tails. size coma, which forms like a ball of gas around its core, is estimated to be more than 130,000 km away, and its tail extends more than 800,000 km. Currently at a level close to 8, C/2017 K2 (PanStarrs) can’t be seen foreye Naked but discoverable in a pair of binoculars. But you will have to wait for a file full moon She passed it to take full advantage of it, without feeling embarrassed.

After transiting the constellation Serpent (Ophiuchus), the great comet now (August) wandering around Scorpio, well visible heading south at the beginning of the night. It approaches two of its distinctive tentacles (see photo above) and will pass close to the two brightest stars in this part of theanatomy animal, namely Graffias on August 22, and Dschubba on August 30. to her brightness It should continue to increase in the coming weeks as the temperature rises. Forecasts depend on a magnitude that should not exceed 8. But we may have surprises, as always with comets.

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