Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

March 23, 2024

12P-Pons-Brooks-epod

Photographer: James Peirce
Summary Authors: James Peirce; Jim Foster

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is featured above as imaged from my Esprit 120ED telescope in the evening sky on March 8, 2024, in Skull Valley, Utah. It seems that outburst events in recent months have contributed to the fascinating tails of 12P/Pons-Brooks, including the so called horns, leading to its nickname Devil’s Comet. I have to say that this is the most dynamic and interesting comet I’ve imaged.

Though 12P/Pons-Brooks won't have its closest approach to the Sun until April 21 (parhelion date), it's currently just visible to the unaided eye in very dark skies (Bortle Scale 1-3). For Northern Hemisphere viewers, look for it approximately 20 degrees above the horizon (2-fists held at arms-length) in the western sky (approximately 290 degrees azimuth) an hour after sunset. It's easily visible through a small telescope or binoculars if you know just where to look. This comet's brightness has been rather unpredictable thus far, but if it becomes brighter during the next two weeks, Comet12P could end up putting on a fun show -- and could even be visible during the total solar eclipse on April 8 (Mexico, United States, Canada). 

Photo/equipment Details: Esprit 120ED telescope on my AM5 (chonky Burlebach tripod) along with my ZWO ASI2600MC Duo camera. Software: Adobe Photoshop, Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight.

Skull Valley, Utah Coordinates: 40.3988,-112.7205

Related Links:
Comet NEOWISE Seen from Quebec City
James’ Website