Volcanic “Devil’s Comet” lost its “horns” and turned green on its way to Earth

And maybe it will be forever Comet Pons-Brooks (12P/Pons-Brooks), a short-period comet in the Halley system, is moving toward its closest approach to Earth during its 71-year orbit through the solar system. After her worst emotional outburst last week, she still hasn’t grown the distinctive horns that gave her her creepy nickname.

However, astronomers found many new features of the comet, including an unusual green tint and a mysterious “shadow”. Before that, the comet experienced three major flares: July 20, October 5, and October 31. Each time, its coma falls into an irregular pattern and “dark streaks” make it appear. as if he grew two horns. On November 14, at 12 o’clock at night, another large explosion occurred – the largest. Astronomers noticed that the comet temporarily glowed 100 times brighter than usual over the next few days. But at this time, the characteristic “horn” does not appear. We still don’t know why they left. Perhaps repeated eruptions broke the recesses that prevented the flow of cryomagma. During the third fire, on Halloween, the “horn” of the comet is very different than during the first two fires, suggesting that the stage may have been damaged by the first two fires of the comet. Astronomers suggest that the comet has ceased to exist forever.

The truth is that 12P/Pons-Brooks is a cryovolcanic (or volcanic) play. The comet’s core, a mixture of ice, dust and gas, is surrounded by an inert cloud called a coma. Unlike most other comets, the gas and ice in the core is so concentrated that the material in the atmosphere can “explode”, expelling its hot contents. , cryomagma, from cracks in the main shell. On April 24, 2024, the comet will reach its closest point to the Sun (perihelion), then fly around the star and enter the outer region of the solar system. The comet will reach Earth on June 2, 2024 and will be visible to the naked eye. It is likely that the comet will not return to the solar system until 2094.