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Sky Events for:

    December - 2021  (continued)

 

 

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Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1).

 

Discovered on January 3, 2021 by Greg Leonard at Mt. Lemmon Observatory it was a 19th magnitude speck, and had spent the last 35,000 years coming sunward from a distance of around 3,500 au.  It will pass the Sun on January 3, 2022, ,  (within 57.2 million miles) and on Dec. 12th, 2021 will be closest to Earth at 34.9 million kilometers (21.7 million miles).

 

December 1, - Dec. 12th Visible in the morning sky 6am.


There are hopes that Comet Leonard will brighten to be seen naked eye in mid-December.  This being said, comets will always do what THEY want to do, and many variables will determine just how bright it gets.


On December 2nd Comet Leonard passes about 1.5 degrees west of M3 (a bright globular cluster) and on December 3rd, it will be about 1 degree to the east of M3.  (Magnitude ~ 6.5) On December 6th, it will be about 5 degrees north of Arcturus.  Predictions of 5.5 magnitude, and having Arcturus as a guide, it should be able to be found quite easily.  Also, the Moon will not be interfering with observation.


Dec. 9th – 11th moving quickly through Serpens Caput and Ophiuchus.


December 12th, (predictions of 4th magnitude), will be the last morning (with bright twilight) to see Comet Leonard before it passes around the Sun and then will be low in the evening sky at dusk.  It will be moving across Sagittarius and Microscopium, so Southern Hemisphere observers will have a more advantageous view than in the Northern Hemisphere for the evening apparition. 

 

The 13th of December will find the comet Very close to the western horizon at around 5:20pm.


December 14th:  5:30 pm the comet will make a triangle with M16 and M17, and be above Mercury.


December 18th:  5:30pm moving east and slightly higher, Comet Leonard will be about 5 degrees below Venus.


December 20th, 5:30 – 6:00pm still moving east it will now be about 10 degrees below Saturn.


December 26th, 6:00 – 7:00pm   now about 20 degrees below Jupiter, the comet will fast become dimmer and dimmer.


                     See charts on next page:

 




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