‘Rare ‘Mother Of Dragons’ comet reappears after almost seven decades’

A stunning celestial display is currently visible in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere – a comet known as the “Mother of Dragons.” This comet, also referred to as the “devil comet” or “12P/Pons-Brooks,” is classified as a ‘Halley-type’ comet with an orbital period of nearly seven decades. Scientists estimate that the nucleus of the comet is approximately 30 kilometers in diameter and is composed of a combination of dust, gas, and ice known as “cryo-magma” or “ice lava.”

One of the most unique aspects of this comet is its 71-year cycle of “cryovolcanic eruptions,” during which it emits extraordinary outbursts of gas and dust as it moves through the inner solar system, creating a striking neon-green glow. The comet is named “Mother of Dragons” due to its distinctive horned shape, which resembles the kappa-Draconids meteor shower that occurs annually from November to December.

The scientific name of the comet, “12P/Pons-Brooks,” is derived from the names of two renowned comet observers – French astronomer Jean Louis Pons and British-American astronomer William R. Brooks, who made significant comet discoveries in the 19th century. This comet is not expected to return to Earth’s vicinity until the late 2090s, making the current viewing opportunity a rare event for astronomy enthusiasts.

The “Mother of Dragons” comet is set to reach its closest point to Earth in June 2024, but the best time to observe it from the Northern Hemisphere is in late March and early April. Stargazers are advised to find a location away from city lights with an unobstructed view of the western horizon for optimal visibility. The comet will brighten as it approaches the sun and should be visible to the naked eye, although binoculars may facilitate its observation. After April 21, the comet will continue its journey towards the outer solar system and will not be visible again until 2095.