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Rare celestial phenomenon: Devil’s Comet to grace Sri Lankan skies during total solar eclipse

April 07, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lankans are gearing up to witness a celestial rarity as the Devil’s Comet, scientifically known as 12P/Pons-Brooks, makes its appearance, a phenomenon occurring once every 71 years.

Positioned near Jupiter, the comet will be visible to the naked eye during the total solar eclipse on April 08.

This massive comet, renowned for its distinctive “horned” shape, first caught the attention of Chinese astronomers in the year 1300 Anno Domini.

However, it gained official recognition when observed by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons in the 19th century and later rediscovered by British American astronomer William Brooks in 1883.

Consequently, it was christened the 12P/Pons-Brooks comet.

Featuring two “horns” formed of ice and gas and periodic explosions, the comet earned its moniker “devil comet.”

According to NASA, the 18.6-mile-wide celestial visitor is expected to reach its closest point to the Sun and shine brightest on April 21.

It will also be positioned below the moon on April 10, offering a spectacle visible to the unaided eye.

During the total solar eclipse, the sudden darkness will provide an opportune moment for skywatchers to marvel at the vast expanse of the sky, potentially catching a glimpse of stars, planets, and perhaps even the Pons-Brooks comet as it traverses the solar system.

This marks the fourth appearance of the Devil’s Comet since its official discovery in 1812.

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