Mother of Dragons comet the size of Everest will be seen in UK skies tonight

A green comet
A generic photo of a comet -Credit:Hideo Nishimura

A comet the size of Mount Everest, named Mother of Dragons, will be visible in the skies over the UK tonight (Sunday, April 21). The comet, officially named 12P/ Pons-Brooks, is returning to the inner solar system for the first time in more than 70 years.

The comet orbits the sun once every 71.3 years and Sunday night will be the best time to see it. Light from the sun will reflect off the comet tonight, making it appear brighter.

The comet will be easiest to see if you look west, just below and to the left of Jupiter (a bright, white dot in the sky), around 90 minutes after sunset. That will be just before 10pm.

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The comet should be bright enough to see with the naked eye, but a telescope or binoculars will help. Anyone with a very clear view may be able to see the comet give off a green glow, thanks to its unique carbon structure. Radiation from the Sun will break apart part of the comet's surface, releasing the unusual light.

The comet is also 'cryovolcanic', meaning that heat from the sun causes liquid and gases under the surface to erupt. The eruptions as the comet travels at 40,000mph have previously created a second tail, leading it to be named 'devil comet' because the twin tails look like horns. The comet is believed to be the origin of the Draconid meteor shower we see every year in November and December - hence the name Mother of Dragons.

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