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09th Jan 2024

‘Devil comet bigger than Everest’ is heading towards Earth

Charlie Herbert

devil comet

It’s horn-like appearance led to it being dubbed a ‘devil comet’

A comet estimated to be bigger than Everest is heading towards Earth.

Comets are balls of ice, dust and rocks that typically come from the ring of icy material on our solar system’s outer edge.

As they get closer to the Sun, they begin to melt, releasing a stream of gas and dust behind them.

This one has been given the rather ominous nickname ‘devil comet’ due to ihe distinctive ‘horns’ astronomers spotted curving out of its surface.

It’s actual name is 12P/Pons-Brooks, and the ‘horns’ have since disappeared, Live Science reports.

The 10.5 mile wide celestial body is a cryovolcanic, or cold volcano, comet. When pressure builds up in its nucleus, the shell cracks and it ‘erupts.’

Astronomers noticed after its latest eruption that the horn-like structures had disappeared.

“The coma seems perfectly circular this time,” Nick James, director of the British Astronomical Association (BAA) comet section, said.

The comet orbits the Sun every 71.2 years, and is set to make its closest approach to Earth on June 2 this year.

Whilst this may sound a bit worrying, there’s nothing to worry about as it will still be one-and-a-half times the distance of Earth to the Sun away from our planet.

Star gazers will still be hoping to the comet is visible to the naked eye though, clear skies permitting.

And NASA are also not concerned about any looming threat of a comet or asteroid hitting Earth.

The space agency said: “NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small.

“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”

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