Updated: Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Eyes on the bright comet Leonard at its best and nearest in the evening skies!

This comet is visible even at nautical twilight (30 minutes after sunset) from Brunei Darussalam today, Dec 15, 2021. It will get higher in the sky each day in the coming days despite of the near full moon interference.

Above: Comet Leonard shines at its best and closest distance 40 000 000 km from Earth in the evening skies from Brunei Darussalam on Dec 15, 2021.

Thursday, 02 December 2021

A much-anticipated bright comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) was seen through small telescopes and fairly easy to record with a camera today.

The comet was named after Gregory Leonard, who first discovered it early this year, January 2021.

Comet Leonard continues to pass closes to Earth by mid-December 2021 at a safe distance of 34,902,000 km. At that point, the comet could become bright enough to see with the unaided eye.

This morning, December 2, 2021, members of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD) were conducting observations of this icy world and monitoring its development. These are the images:

Wednesday, 01 Dec 2021

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Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard is currently at magnitude 7 which is a binocular or small-telescope object and already sporting a green coma with an extended dust tail. This is what it looked like this morning from Tutong, Brunei Darussalam.

Above: The Comet Leonard is visible in the morning twilight on Dec 01, 2021 from Brunei Darusslam | Photographed by the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD)
Above: Comet Leonard exhibits its green coma with an extended dust tail | Photographed by the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam

Leonard will get brighter as it passes closest to Earth on December 13, 2021. At a distance only 35 million kilometers from Earth (between orbit of Venus and Earth), the comet is expected to be seen with the naked eye in the morning sky in the coming weeks.

Comet’s Orbit

Animation of C๏ผ2021 A1’s orbit around Sun – 2021 close approach   
C/2021 A1 ยท   Sun ยท   Mercury  ยท   Venus ยท   Earth ยท   Mars

Comet Brightness

Above: C/2021 A1 (Leonard) magnitude chart. The forward scattering of light could cause the comet to brighten to as much as magnitude ~2 (Source: Gideon van Buitenen. Retrieved 2021-12-04)

Key dates

Jan 3, 2021 Comet Discovery: According to Minor Planet Centre (MPC), IAU, Greg. J. Leonard the senior research specialist at Mount Lemmon Observatory reported the discovery of a comet in the images taken by Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96) telescope in 4 co-added 30s exposures on Jan. 3, 2021. He reported a condensed 10″ coma and 5″ broad tail extending towards position angle 250-270 deg.

Dec 03, 2021 Star Cluster & Comet Pair: Comet Leonard will pass right across the front of the bright globular cluster Messier 3 on the morning of the 3rd December, which will make for a great observing and imaging opportunity.

Dec 04, 2021 Naked Eye Visibility: Comet Leonard will be in constellation Bootes and rises about two hour before sunrise from Brunei Darussalam. By this date, the celestial visitor is a morning comet and should be an easy target using binoculars at dawn.

Dec 13, 2021 Closest to Earth: The closest approach of Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) to Earth happens on Mon Dec 13 2021 at a distance of 0.233997 Astronomical Units (35,005,384 kilometers). It will be at super bright.

Dec 12-14, 2021 Daylight challenge: Observation will be a challenge as the comet is hidden by the glaring daylight.

Dec 15, 2021 Evening Comet: Leonard will become visible in the early evening sky after sunset from Brunei Darussalam.

Dec 17, 2021 Duo Spectacle: Don’t miss this chance to spot the comet just below Venus in the evening sky.

Dec 18, 2021: The comet will be 0.028 AU (4.2 million km) from Venus

Jan 03, 2022 Perihelion: The comet is currently heading sunward, toward its perihelion (closest point to the sun) on January 3, 2022. Comets are typically brightest around perihelion.

Ephemerides of Comet Leonard from Brunei Darussalam

More updates soon…

Comet Leonard Tweets

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