Brilliant naked-eye comet to light up night sky brighter than stars

Skywatchers! Get ready for a stunning sight this fall when a comet might outshine stars in the night sky

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Web Desk
Brilliant naked-eye comet to light up night sky brighter than stars
Earth to witness comet brighter than the stars. — Space via The Virtual Telescope Project

Five months into 2024, Earthlings have already seen the largest displays of Northern Lights in the last 500 years as well as the "Great North American Solar Eclipse" in April.

However, if you believe that to be the only celestial events for this year then you are gravely mistaken.

There are still some amazing celestial attractions to come this year but how about a bright naked-eye comet first?

Comet approaching Earth may be brighter than the stars.

Two comets, the "Great Green Comet", which passed near Earth in February 2023, and Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks have gained mainstream over the last couple of years.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks received the moniker "Devil's Comet" due to its sudden flare-up in brightness and gaseous appendages resembling horns.

Both comets were difficult to see unless under a dark, non-light polluted sky, where even with good binoculars or a small telescope, both appeared as faint, fuzzy blobs of light.

However, according to a report by Space, Earthlings might witness a bright and easy-to-see naked-eye comet, called C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan–ATLAS), gracing the early autumn evening sky.

The comet was discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) — a robotic early warning system — in South Africa in February 2023.

The system detects near-Earth asteroids a few weeks to just days before they might impact Earth.

Originally thought to be an asteroid, it was later determined that this same object was photographed six weeks earlier by the Purple Mountain Observatory (Tsuchinshan) in the east of Nanjing, China. 

It has since been determined to actually be an incoming comet.