Science – a comet and many fallen stars – knowledge

Heppenheim/Offenbach (dpa) – The coming days may be a great sight for spectators and stargazers.

A comet and hundreds of meteors are expected to appear in the atmosphere in the night and morning skies over Germany. Comet “C/2021 A1 Leonard” will reach its closest point to Earth at a distance of 34 million kilometers on Sunday morning and can even be recognized with the naked eye if the sky is clear if the weather and dawn are in harmony. In the following days, the Gemini meteors will burn and appear in the hundreds in the night sky. The peak point is expected on Tuesday night, the head of the Sternfreunde Association, Sven Melchert, of dpa, said.

Comet Leonard is best seen on the eastern horizon on Sunday morning between six and seven, when dawn does not overlap with sunrise. “This tail star wouldn’t make a bright spectacle,” says Sternfreund. But it should be easy to spot with binoculars or a telescope. But according to the German weather service Offenbach, there are probably only a few areas in Germany where there is a chance to catch a glimpse. A DWD spokesperson said the front was warm with rain from the west during the night. “There are a lot of clouds to come. Perhaps the highest chances are in the Allgäu, in the Alps or in eastern Saxony.”

“This visit to Comet Leonard is not a bright celestial event, but it will be the only one for us,” said astronomer friends. After revolving around the sun in a wide arc, the celestial body will disappear in the vastness of space and will never return to the solar system. C/2021 A1 Leonard was the first comet to be discovered this year on January 3rd. Seen by Gregory J. Leonard at Mount Lemon Observatory in Arizona, USA.

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Comets are billions of years old, and have arisen since the early days of our solar system. It is made up of a mixture of ice, dust and rocks. When a comet approaches the Sun, its core, which is only a few kilometers in size, begins to evaporate and form a dense cloud of dust and gas. The comet’s tail appears later.

Must be the highlight of the night of December 14

Gemini, named after the constellation Gemini, can be a sight to behold. “With 150 meteors per hour, the Gemini River is the richest river of the year,” Melchert said. The peak is expected on the night of December 14th. However, the moon does not set until after midnight, so that most dying meteors are visible in the morning, if the weather cooperates.

DWD doesn’t want to make any real predictions here. The forecast will see clouds and possibly fog as well. The spokesman said the greatest opportunities may remain in the higher elevations of the Black Forest or the Alps.

According to Sternfreunde, if you want a chance to see the stars, you should look east in the evening. The constellation Gemini – from which Gemini appears to have originated – will then arise throughout the night over the south and in the morning in the northwest. According to the association, the twins actually rise in the evening hours in the eastern sky, so the appearance of stars can be expected throughout the night, even in the days after December 14.

According to Astrological Friends, the fact that meteorites originate from the constellation Gemini is of course just a perspective effect. The reason for their occurrence is that the Earth is passing through a cosmic cloud of dust. This supposedly came from the little planet Phaethon, which may have broken through and left debris behind. When they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up and can be seen as falling stars in the sky.

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© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211210-99-332380 / 2

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