MOSCOW, Dec. 12 — RIA Novosti. Record bright comet may appear in the sky at the end of this week: on the night of 15 to 16 December Comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) should reach maximum brightness and becomes brighter the brightest planets, if not destroyed during the approach to the Sun, told RIA Novosti The Observatory "Ka-Dar" Stanislav Short.
Comet C/2011 W3 was discovered Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy (Terry Lovejoy) on November 27. Initially, he thought that a spot in the pictures — defect in the image, but it will appear the following days. Then observations confirmed the other scientists and observatories, and December 2, the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union officially announced the opening.
The calculations showed that on the night of December 16, the comet will fly at a minimum distance from the Sun — only at 186 thousand miles from the surface of the light, which is more than 100 times closer than the distance between the Sun and Mercury, and two times closer than the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The scientists had comet family Creutz, the "scratching the Sun" comets, described at the end of the 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz (Heinrich Kreutz).
According to modern ideas, comets Creutz — the remains of destroyed about two thousand years ago, a giant comet. Every day, more of these comets pass near the Sun and decay, but most of them are small and subtle.
The majority of them, astronomers can see directly in front of the death — the images space solar observatory SOHO, which opens up to a thousand such objects per year. However, Comet C/2011 W3 is the first in many years, "solntsegryzuschey" comet discovered in the way of our star with ground-based telescopes — and it may have much more than its typical counterparts.
"This is a very rare situation, the last time this type of comet discovered from Earth a couple of decades ago," — said Stanislav Short. However, he notes that this comet may not survive so close to the sun interview.
"It is the night of December 16, fly, almost touching the surface of the sun, but if you do not die, it will be bright — brighter than all the planets," — said the source.
According to him, the brightness of the comet may reach from -3 to -4 magnitude, though the brightest planet in the sky, Venus, has a magnitude of about -3.9. Some astronomers believe that the brightness can reach -5 magnitude.
"But the comet will be close to the Sun, which would prevent her observations in the northern hemisphere. It will be convenient to observe images from SOHO and satellites STEREO ", — said the astronomer.
Currently, the comet has already appeared in sight solar observatory STEREO-B. As expected, the coronagraph on board the SOHO can see it in the evening on December 13.
Source: RIA Novosti