A "horned" comet, 3 times larger than Everest, is heading for Earth: it exploded for the second time in recent months

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Comet 12P/Ponce-Brooks will approach Earth in June 2014. Source: Pexels/Comet Chasers/Faulkes Telescope Project/Las Cumbres Observatory

The "horned" comet 12P/Ponce Brooks, which is three times the size of Everest, has exploded for the second time in four months, but continues to rush toward Earth. A new explosion on the cryovolcanic comet, which is 30 kilometers in diameter, was recorded on October 5.

According to Live Science, the first comet explosion was recorded in July. Then the British Astronomical Association (BAA), which closely monitors 12P, noticed that the comet became a hundred times brighter due to the light reflected by its coma, a cloudy gas surrounding its center.

These were the signs of an explosion on the comet, which occurred for the first time in 69 years.

Subsequently, the comet "transformed", developing peculiar "horns". At the time, some experts even jokingly compared it to the Millennium Falcon spaceship from the science fiction epic Star Wars.

During this eruption, the horn-shaped emissions were 7,000 times wider than the comet itself.

The very reason for the appearance of the "horns" is not very clear to experts. They suggest that it may be related to the shape of 12P's nucleus.

"The two 'horns' may be caused by a specially shaped cryovolcanic vent with a certain blockage, causing material with a strange flow pattern to be ejected," Richard Miles of the British Astronomical Association told the New York Post.

However, despite the fact that Comet 12P looks ominous, there is no need to be afraid and prepare for a deep collision with the Earth. Scientists expect the comet to reach its closest point to Earth only on June 2, 2024. It is during this period that it will be visible in the sky even with the naked eye.

After that, the comet will be catapulted back into the solar system and will return no earlier than 2095.

The second explosion, which occurred in October, was most likely even stronger than the first. How much the comet grew is currently unknown, but there are signs that suggest the October outburst was "twice as intense" as the previous one.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks was first discovered on July 12, 1812 by Jean-Louis Pons. It is one of 20 known comets with icy volcanoes.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that a hidden 180-meter "potentially dangerous asteroid" was discovered near the Earth.

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