BruneiAstronomy
Astronomy & Falak Syarie in Brunei Darussalam

by Hazarry bin Haji Ali Ahmad

Bandar Seri Begawan – Keep an eye out for Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, it may brighten to naked eye visibility as it arrives perihelion in April.

Comet Pons Brooks will be at its closest distance of 116.8 million km to the Sun on Sunday, April 21 2024. It thus reached its maximum brightness of magnitude 4.2, expected visible to the unaided eye.
Comets are so unpredictable for sudden flare-ups in brightness, so you might get a chance to catch sight for this spectacular show.

From Brunei Darussalam, the comet will set in the west-northwest, hovering about 10 degrees above the horizon in the evening twilight all through April.

Like other comets, 12P/Pons-Brooks is made of a mixture of ice and rocky materials. As it approaches the Sun, these volatile matters transform to gas and dust which cause an expansive cloud (coma) and a distinctive tail.

By the end of April, it then fades very rapidly and moves back out into space. Comet Pons-Brooks will take another 71 years for it to complete another full journey around the sun – a once in a lifetime experience to see the cosmic wanderer!

Is the comet up in the sky now? Use the ephemeris data below and the online live chart to track comet Pons-Brooks in Brunei via https://www.bruneiastronomy.org/starchart


Updated on 09 April 2024

A once-in-a-lifetime Green Comet spotted from Brunei for the first time in 70 years today, 09 April 2024.

A cosmic wanderer about triple the size of Mount Everest officially cataloged as 12P/Pons-Brooks is now visible in Brunei Darussalam for the first time in more than seven decades – and it won’t be returning again until 2095.

The comet was clearly captured even on a small digital (smartphone) camera, and should be an easy target using binoculars or a telescope. Comet 12P displays a bright fuzzy green colour coma and a fascinating tail.

Photo: Comet Pons-Brooks from Tutong on April 08, 2024 (Photo by Hazarry Ali Ahmad/PABD)

It is currently visible very low on the western horizon in the evening twilight. It is expected to become even brighter in the coming weeks as the comet approaches the sun on April 21, 2024.

Photo: Wide angle photograph of evening sky reveals Comet Pons-Brooks in the twilight on April 08, 2024 (Photo by Hazarry Ali Ahmad/PABD)
Photo: Comet Pons-Brooks above western horizon from Tutong on April 08, 2024 (Photo by Hazarry Ali Ahmad/PABD)
Photo: Bright comet 12P/Pons Brooks soars above the clouds from Brunei Darussalam (Photo by Hazarry Haji Ali Ahmad/PABD)

Updated on 12 April 2024

Last Chance to see Comet Pons-Brooks at its best before vanishes until 2095

Photo: Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks graces the orangeness twilight from Brunei Darussalam (Special Thanks: Post processed by Adi Nugroho / Arisan Astro Indonesia)

The periodic Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is currently passing near the Sun, and it will come as close as 116.8 million km to the sun on April 21, 2024.

It is now viewable over in the west horizon in the evening twilight from Brunei Darussalam and will reach as bright as a stellar magnitude 4.0 which is within naked eye limit.

Photo: A COSMOS-SKYMED1 satellite photobombed the comet (Photo by Hazarry Haji Ali Ahmad/PABD)

The extraterrestrial object should appear as a fuzzy green blob with a hazy tail as viewed from a small telescope or binoculars.

Wait for darkness (after 7.15 pm), it is a simple cosmic target to be photographed – Get out your tripod, attach a medium lens and point the camera towards the west horizon.

From the northern hemisphere, comet 12P will remain viewable for the next 1 or 2 weeks before disappearing into the bright sun’s glare and proceeding into the southern sky.

Photo: Bright comet through the clouds from Tutong taken on April 12, 2024, at 7.20 pm. (Photo by Hazarry Haji Ali Ahmad/PABD)

By May, the giant comet will fade rapidly as it moves towards the outer solar system and won’t approach the Earth again in the next 71 years.

Photo: Fuzzy comet 12P/Pons-Brooks with a tail and bright green blob (Photo by Hazarry Haji Ali Ahmad/PABD)

Updated on 14 April 2024

Horned Comet in Bruneian skies

Photo: The comet 12P/Pons-Brooks hovers above the western horizon at dusk.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is nicknamed as β€œdevil comet” for its unusual pointy shape. Just a week before its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion), The comet was photographed last night, April 14, 2024, from Tutong, which evidently displayed two distinct β€œhorns” of gas and ice.

Comet 12P is a Halley-type periodic comet with an orbital period of about 71.3 years. In 2024, the icy wanderer is speeding through the inner solar system and expected to reach its maximum brightness, potentially becoming visible to the naked eye during the perihelion.

However, bright twilight and moonlight may wash out the comet’s brilliance, so skywatchers may need binoculars or telescopes to catch a glimpse.

Photo: Long exposure shot (8 sec x 30, stacked) of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks on April 14, 2024. (Photo by Hazarry Haji Ali Ahmad /PABD)
Photo: β€˜Horns’ coming out of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks.

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