Comet Leonard: Where is it now and how can it be seen at its brightest?

Comet Leonard will be visiting this weekend (Image: Getty)

Keep watching the skies this weekend, as you could literally see a sight out of this world.

Comet C/2021 A1 – aka Leonard – will be a sight to behold for stargazers and it is predicted to be The brightest comet of 2021.

Leonard made an incredible 35,000-year journey through deep space to get to us and won’t return to our solar system for another 80,000 years (as long as it doesn’t get too close to the sun) .

It was discovered at the beginning of the year by Researcher Greg Leonard from Arizona’s Mount Lemmon Observatory.

But where is Leonard now, and when will he shine the most this weekend?

Where is comet Leonard now?

Comet Leonard has appeared in the sky since mid-December (Image: Dan Bartlett / NASA / JPL)

Leonard is traveling at an incredible 158,000 miles per hour, getting closer to Earth with every passing second.

At the time of writing, it is more than 36 million km from Earth as it passes through the constellation Serpens located near the celestial equator.

You can track Leonard’s progress in real time over

Leonard even has Twitter account with regular updates on its deep space journey – who knew outer space would offer such a good data package?

How to see Comet Leonard at its brightest point

Leonard will be at its closest point to Earth on December 12, where it will be about 34.4 million kilometers away, and will be at its brightest in the early evening hours.

While many Earthlings were able to see Leonard, sadly for UK stargazers, it was not expected to be seen, due to the country’s very low position on the eastern horizon before Twilight.

Those in North America and the Southern Hemisphere will have a much better chance of seeing Leonard (Image: Getty)

Stargazers tracking in North America and the Southern Hemisphere will have better luck and may begin looking for comets above the horizon after sunset.

The best way to try and catch a glimpse of Leonard is with a telescope or a pair of binoculars when the sky is clear and in a place with little light pollution.

After passing Earth, Comet Leonard will pass by Venus on December 18, coming closer to the planet than any previously recorded comet, to within 4 million km.

It will then make its closest approach to the Sun on January 3.

If it survives the heat and radiation of the sun, it is expected to exit the solar system and not oscillate again for another 80,000 years – give or take a little.

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Huynh Nguyen

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