A new comet discovered last month is just beginning to come close to our inner solar system. It might be visible -- at least via binoculars -- just before next summer arrives.

Scientists first observed C/2021 O3 on July 26 in Hawaii. It was spotted more than four times Earth’s distance from the sun. Scientists believe it will be closest to the sun around the third week of April 2022. The comet’s closest distance to Earth will be after this, around the beginning of the middle of May 2022.

Will we be able to see this comet without the aid of a telescope? Maybe, because comets are a bit unpredictable and it was only recently discovered, there’s some evidence that it would be visible to the naked eye.

According to earthsky.org:

Calculations indicate it might reach magnitude 7 or 6, and perhaps even 5.5 (lower numbers are brighter). Don’t get too excited if you see some claims of “bright comet is coming.” Comets are very erratic and unpredictable, and most require optical aid.

Earthsky says that another comet, C/2021 A1, might provide very nice views just before winter begins. It's projected to get more than 216,500+ miles from Earth on December 12. It was discovered at Arizona’s Mount Lemmon Observatory on January 3, 2021, by Greg Leonard, a senior research specialist, hence the name “Comet Leonard.”

It most likely won't be as bright as last July's comet, Neowise, which is estimated to not be back again for a visit until the year 8786.

Probably the best-known comet for this generation is Halley's Comet, which will return in 2061 on its regular 76-year journey around the Sun.

 

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