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We present to you the "devil’s comet"visible with simple binoculars

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, its scholarly name, only appears in the vicinity of the Earth every seventy-one years.

It is not as spectacular as Hale-Bopp’s comet, which shone in the sky for several months in 1997, but it is sure to amaze. The “devil’s comet”, also called 12P/Pons-Brooks, is visible in our latitudes at the start of spring. Franceinfo presents this distant visitor who we only see every seventy-one years. This icy ball, which like all comets is a vestige of our solar system, should be easily observable from March 28 and until mid-April in the early evening, with simple binoculars.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks was discovered by Jean-Louis Pons in 1812 at the Marseille observatory. The man who had been hired as a janitor in the establishment ended up becoming an astronomer, then deputy director of the institution. Internationally recognized, Jean-Louis Pons was one of the most prolific comet discoverers in history.

Above all, the object observed by Jean-Louis Pons in 1812 was found independently by the American William Brooks in 1883, seventy-one years later. He then took the names of his two discoverers, even if, in reality, the first signs of observation of this “devil’s comet” date back to the 14th century, in China and Japan.

Comets have on average a nucleus 10 km in diameter. According to the latest estimates, that of 12P/Pons-Brooks measures 30 km, notes Nicolas Biver, astronomer at the Paris Observatory and president of the comet commission of the French Astronomical Society. Thirty kilometers is also twice as long as the famous Halley’s comethe emphasizes.

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  • Source of information and images “francetvinfo”

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