The exact size of the rocky icy core of the strange comet isn’t known but is likely only a few miles across – but it has a much larger atmosphere, as seen in this image taken by astronomer Martin Gembec.
- The comet was discovered on December 28, 2019 in the area of Ursa Major
- Its currently in Mars’ orbit but is on its way towards the Sun and getting brighter
- It was spotted by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS)
- If it doesn’t break up it will reach its closest point to the Sun by the end of May
Atlas, a massive comet five times the size of Jupiter and about half the size of the Sun, will appear brighter than Venus from Earth by the end of April.
The exact size of the rocky icy core of the strange comet isn’t known but is likely only a few miles across – but it has a much larger atmosphere.
It’s currently close to Mars’ orbit but is increasing in speed as it makes its way towards the Sun and will make its closest approach to Earth in April.
When it gets towards the inner solar system it will become one of the brightest objects in the night sky and potentially the ‘comet of a generation’.
Comet’s trajectory in the sky with 7-day markers