We all know of 'the star in
the east' which heralded the birth of Jesus (as the story
goes), but this year the month of December is set to be
blessed with another 'star'.
I watched the following video to learn that Comet Leonard
will appear for those in the northern hemisphere shortly
after sunset in the west.
At first it is expected that binoculars or small
telescope will be required, but at the magnitude goes from 8
to 2 at it's peak (5.5 being required for naked-eye
visibility, and the lower the better) this comet should be
brighter than that of Neowise from July last year.
Above: An artist's
impression of the 1858 comet Donati, seen next to Arcturus.
The peak of Leonard will be on December
12th. One should look towards the west and Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes shortly
According to Stellarium this provides me with a short
window of opportunity, but
Arcturus rises in the east around
1:30am, so this not only provides a greater opportunity with
darker skies, but also makes it more fitting as a 'Christmas
Star'. I'm not sure why the video above only suggests
Astrologically, for anyone who is a Sagittarian (or
this should surely be of interest. This comet is on an
80,000 year orbit - you have to take your chance now to see
it before it's gone!
In 1858 Arcturus was visited by
Comet Donati. It was the first comet to be photographed.
It has an orbital period of ~1.739 years.