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This is your last chance to see the ‘devil comet’ until 2095

Published Apr 19th, 2024 1:56PM EDT

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Despite having already passed by Earth, the “Devil comet” has remained visible in the night sky for skywatchers who knew where they were looking. Now, though, as the comet prepares to reach perihelion – its closest approach to the Sun – the chances of seeing this once-in-a-lifetime comet are shrinking as its visibility worsens.

That’s because most comets tend to flare brightly before fading exponentially, lowering in magnitude until they’re no longer visible. In this case, the devil comet will stop being visible to skywatchers in the northern hemisphere, though those in the southern hemisphere will finally get a better chance at seeing the comet for themselves.

The devil comet’s visibility is, of course, one that skywatchers will want to take into account, as the comet isn’t expected to make a return to Earth in its orbit until 2095, roughly 71 years from now. Many of the folks able to see it today might not be around by then, unless anti-aging breakthroughs increase exponentially.

That said, the devil comet, or Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, as the comet is more accurately named, has been a thrill for skywatchers all around the world, especially in recent months as it has continued to flare-up in brightness. The comet will likely be visible into May, though it will drop drastically in magnitude by the end of May, almost vanishing completely for the northern hemisphere by the end of June.

If you want to see this once-in-a-lifetime comet, now’s your best chance, as the devil comet’s visibility will only worsen over the coming weeks and months. If you don’t have the proper equipment to see it for yourself, you can always check out The Virtual Telescope Project’s video capture of the comet, which showcases the comet in all its glory as it made its way past our planet back in March.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll have a few more months to enjoy this spectacular visitor. Just make sure you get a good look at it before it is gone.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.