Comet A1 Leonard to become visible to the naked eye in December


FOTCM Member
Hey everyone,

As I was doing my nightly news round I came across an article that caught my attention, I found it in spanish and I am translating it here for reference:

Around mid-December 2021, Comet Leonard will visit the inner Solar System and pass close to Venus and Earth, before hurtling around the sun around January 2022.

"Although comets are extremely difficult to predict, some estimates indicate that light from Comet Leonard will be visible to the naked eye in December," reported the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

"Soon after passing close to Earth in mid-December, the comet will move from northern to southern skies," it added.

The space agency shared an image of the comet composed of 62 photographs captured by telescope to record both the astronomical body and the stars behind it. These photographs showed a formation of dust, snow and rocks coming from the Oort cloud, which has an 80,000-year orbit.

In addition, NASA detailed that it obtained its image from the vicinity of June Lake, in California.

When to see it

Comet Leonard took 80,000 years to go around the Sun, so after this period it will be visible with greater power on December 12 at 8:54 am.

Among the countries where it will be visible at its maximum brightness is Mexico, according to preliminary data, the astronomical event will be visible between 5:00 and 5:30 in the morning (Mexico City time).

This next sighting is in addition to the partial lunar eclipse that could be seen from practically all of Latin America and the United States on November 19, the longest in the last almost 600 years.

There are several news sites that have picked up the story, what I found interesting is that the moment is approaching the inner solar system from the Oort cloud, not that such an occurrence is unlikely given the amount of rocks in that region, but I remember it being discussed a while ago how as the suns companion passed through the cloud, it could plunge cometary bodies towards the inner solar system and I felt that this could be a sign of that very event maybe?


The Living Force
Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard)

Has an apparent magnitude of +8.6 and is expected to brighten to magnitude +4 in December as it closes down to 0.2 AU. , At dark sites it would be possible to see the comet with the naked eye (if the comet’s brightness develops as anticipated)

“Now it is bright as 8.6 mag (Nov. 15, Michael Jager). It will approach to Earth down to 0.2 a.u. in December, and it is expected to brighten up to 4 mag. In the Northern Hemisphere, it stays observable in good condition for a long time until December while the comet is brightening gradually. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is not observable until mid December”




FOTCM Member
While this comet will be at the closest distance from Earth on december 12th at 0.23AU, it will be even closer to Venus on the 18th (around the time it crosses the ecliptic) at 0.03AU. Also Venus passes through the comet's tail so who know what kind of things may happen. One can wonder of course if it has companions and how spread their orbits can be. If it brightens beyond the 4th magnitude it would be great for naked eye observations, but for most people good binoculars would suffice.

Also, the earth will cross the Comet's orbital plane on the 8th of december, which may enhance its apparent brightness with small optics and maybe show an antitail, so that's a date to consider as well.
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FOTCM Member
It's pretty!



The Force is Strong With This One
Hi anyone managed to get any photographs of the comet close to Venus. Absolutely nothing on
Here is Se England it has been cloudy all week.


The Living Force
Comet Leonard
20 Dec 2021

by Gerald Rhemann (1) and Daniele Gasparri (2) showing the astonishing tail, and Michael Jaeger (3) published at Just wow ! :wow:

Gerald Rhemann • "I took the picture using a remote-controlled telescope in Farm Hakos, Namibia," says Rhemann.

"A small telescope reveals a very complex and dynamic tail," adds Daniele Gasparri, who photographed the comet from the Atacama desert in Chile. "It is a rare beauty of the sky."

"Long exposure times are useless, the comet's tail is moving so rapidly," says astrophotographer Michael Jaeger. "The shapes are sensational."​

Gerald Rhemann.jpg




The Living Force
Comet C/2021A1 Leonard
25 Dec 2021

Another stunning image of the comet, taken by Gerald Rhemann on December 25, 2021 @ Farm Tivoli, Namibia. Apparently it is a Mosaic image of two. The exposure is taken though (4) different color channels, exposed for 100 seconds each. (if I understood that correctly, I am not sure) .



The Living Force
Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard
24, 26 vs 28 Dec 2021

Again, Michael Jaeger's fascinating images of Comet Leonard with 2 days interval.


A Creative View

Then there are the intriguing images made by Dr. Sebastian Voltmer on 24 Dec 2021 on the island of La Palma, showing a rather unusual perspective (which I think is simply amazing from a creative standpoint - absolutely wow ! ) - the comet just above the breaking waves. He also made an image for comparison; that not everything which looks big, is as big to the naked eye - showing a wide angle image with the surroundings.


And finally, there is Daniele Gasparri.

a guy who often makes incredible photos with his Sony A7s in the Atacama Desert. The camera in question itself, is a bit special due to its intriguing sensor, which combines extreme high sensitivity (high ISO) with very good quality e.g without 'falling apart', so to speak. I call the Sony A7s (first version) "the dark knight" and been using it myself since 2017.

But this guy's astro-landscape photography is (with 20 years experience under his belt) ... truly astonishing. I would say, jaw dropping (Here is his website, and there are galleries) where he shows many incredible photos... The kind you rarely ever see, in my opinion. A highly recommended visit for anyone who loves landscape, creativity, night landscapes, astro photography, close, far, and wide.

Anyway, he took the image of Comet Leonard below on December 26, 2021 in the Atacama region, Chile



The Living Force
Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard
26 Dec 2021

I couldn't find a particular image I had in mind when I posted my previous entry... but now, I have found it again.

I feel it was an interesting image, because it shows the size of Comet Leonard's tail which is impressive long. At least when you are located in a serious dark location, and have the equipment of collecting faint light for a longer time (while the camera/lens follows the movement of the stars - which is the reason why the horizon appears blurry by the way), but is making the weaker tail a lot more visible.

So, Jan Hattenbach took the image of Comet Leonard on the island of La Palma on 26 Dec 2021.


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