Once-in-a-Lifetime ‘Mother of Dragons’ Comet: Viewable Now

A spectacular emerald-green comet, nicknamed the “Mother of Dragons,” is gracing our skies for the first time in 71 years. This celestial wonder, officially known as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, is putting on a show that you won’t want to miss.

But what makes this comet so special?

A Comet with a Unique Personality

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Image Credit: L Galbraith/ShutterStock.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is no ordinary comet. This icy space rock, roughly the size of a city, has a few tricks up its sleeve. First, its bright green color comes from diatomic carbon molecules that glow when exposed to sunlight.

But that’s not all – this comet is also a cosmic “ice volcano,” regularly erupting and spewing material from its core into space. In fact, in July 2023, it had a dramatic outburst that caused it to sprout “horns,” earning it the nickname “devil comet.”

The “Mother of Dragons” & Her Celestial Offspring

So why is this comet called the “Mother of Dragons”? The European Space Agency gave it this epic nickname because it is believed to be the parent body of the annual “kappa-Draconids” meteor shower (ref).

Every year, from late November to mid-December, the Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by this comet, resulting in a dazzling display of shooting stars.

When & Where to See the Comet

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Illustration. Image Credit: solarseven/DepositPhotos

If you want to catch a glimpse of this rare cosmic event, the best time for skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere is in early April 2024, about an hour after sunset.

Look low in the western sky, and you might just spot the green “Mother of Dragons.”

The comet will be at its brightest around April 21 (ref) as it makes its closest approach to the sun. But don’t wait too long – after this appearance, it won’t pass by Earth again until the 2090s!

Observing Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks not only provides a breathtaking celestial experience but also offers valuable insights into the composition and behavior of comets. These ancient icy bodies may hold clues to how water and organic materials were delivered to Earth billions of years ago.

Here’e some tips from NASA:

So, grab your binoculars, head outside, and witness this once-in-a-lifetime event. The “Mother of Dragons” is waiting to enchant you with her emerald glow.

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Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.