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Rare Celestial Spectacle: Sri Lankans to Witness the Devil’s Comet During Total Solar Eclipse

Sri Lankans are poised to behold a remarkable celestial event as the Devil’s Comet, scientifically known as 12P/Pons-Brooks, graces the skies. This celestial phenomenon occurs only once every 71 years, offering a rare opportunity for observation.

During the total solar eclipse on April 08, the Devil’s Comet will be positioned near Jupiter, allowing it to be visible to the naked eye.

This colossal comet, distinguished by its distinctive “horned” shape and a 71-year orbit, was initially spotted in 1300 Anno Domini by Chinese astronomers. However, it gained official recognition after being observed by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons in the 19th century and subsequently rediscovered by British American astronomer William Brooks in 1883. Consequently, it was officially named as the 12P/Pons-Brooks comet.

Referred to as the “devil comet,” it earns its moniker from the formation of two “horns” composed of ice and gas, along with periodic explosions.

According to NASA, the 18.6-mile-wide Devil’s Comet is anticipated to reach its closest proximity to the Sun and shine the brightest on April 21. Additionally, NASA notes that on April 10, the comet will be situated below the moon, offering a clear view to the naked eye.

Moreover, during the total solar eclipse, the sudden absence of sunlight will create an ideal environment for skywatchers to observe the vast sky, potentially allowing them to witness stars, planets, and possibly the Pons-Brooks comet as it traverses the solar system.

This marks the fourth appearance of the Devil’s Comet since its official discovery in 1812.

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