Comet 12P, also known as the “horned comet,” is renowned for its irregular shape changes and explosions, and in recent weeks, it has once again caught the attention of observers. On November 14th, the comet was nearly perfectly round, but the next day, a dark wedge appeared, dividing its silhouette into two parts.
The history of Comet 12P dates back to 1812, and since then, it has regularly returned to the Solar System every 71 years. However, this year, the comet is surpassing itself in terms of explosions. Every few weeks, it undergoes bursts that give it its characteristic “horns.”
In recent days, the comet has exploded once again, garnering the attention of scientists worldwide. “On Friday evening, I noticed a distinct dark smear surrounding the comet,” reports Spanish observer Lars Zielke.
Observers are impressed by these cosmic events but also concerned about the comet’s condition. It seems to be on the brink of disintegration. However, in reality, this is just a stage of its transformation.
After the explosion, the remnants of the comet do not disperse into space but remain around its nucleus. This gives the comet a shape reminiscent of a spacecraft or a ball with horns.
The causes of Comet 12P’s explosions are still unconfirmed, but scientists suspect it is full of active icy volcanoes. Its surface hides icy magma that can explode under the influence of solar radiation. This is how the comet acquires its distinctive “horns.”
Scientific research on this extraordinary comet is ongoing. Observations are meticulously recorded to better understand the processes that influence its transformations. Is it just a matter of time before the next explosion of Comet 12P brings new surprising changes?