Astronomers keep a close watch on the newly discovered Comet SWAN have discovered that he faces a fight for survival as it nears the Sun. But it is a good news for skywatchers, as the space rock, is more beautiful than before.
The comet, official name of which is C/2020 F8, was discovered in late March by the astronomer Michael Mattiazzo of Australia. All indications suggest that it is likely to be the most brilliant comet visible in 2020.
It got its nickname because the first images of the fireball were captured by the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) instrument on the joint ESA and NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Comets are celestial bodies made of rock and ice, who spend the greater part of his life away from the Sun. As they near a star, they heat up and “enable”, the ice sublimates in the gas, and jets of steam and dust from the current of the back, often creating queues of millions of miles long.
SWAN has already passed from the Earth, and is now more than 53 million miles away from us, but becomes brighter as it approaches the sun. It will be visible in the northwest sky after sunset, near the horizon, from now until mid-June.
Some will be able to see with the naked eye, depending on the latitude, but until now, it is best viewed from the southern hemisphere.
The comet, according to reports from the visits to the inner solar system once every 11,597 years, and will reach its closest point to the sun, the so-called ‘danger zone’ on the 27th of May.
It is not clear whether it will survive the close encounter, but if it does, it will be even more visible in the northern hemisphere, but this time in the night sky. Eager astronomers will just have to wait and see, absorbing the SWAN of the beauty in the interim, however long that may last.
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