Last week, the Earth bid farewell to the gigantic Comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) and as it flew past our planet, it started its next journey to make the closest approach to the Sun. But as it moves closer towards the Sun for its eventual closest approach in December 2022, something strange will happen to the Comet K2. There is a chance that the space rock will shine brighter the closer it gets to the Sun. And there is a small chance that it might shine so brightly that instead of using professional telescopes to observe it, it might become observable just through binoculars. But why will it shine brighter? Read on to find out.
According to a report by Space.com, the warmer environment of space as the Comet K2 makes its way towards the Sun will be the biggest contributor towards its brighter shine. The comet is a giant block of ice and rocks, which will begin to melt as it reaches closer to the Sun. As it melts, the gasses inside its core will begin seeping out, and these gasses will burn to give a brighter glow to the comet.
The comet has shown a propensity of expelling its gaseous croma. The first time scientists noted its halo glowing form was when the comet was between Saturn and Uranus. This was highly unusual as that far in the solar system, the temperatures are so low that the comets stay in a solid ice state and appear as a dead rock.
As a comet's activity is always difficult to predict since we have never examined one up close, it cannot be said with certainty that the comet will shine bright. But based on what we know about it and the pattern of observing many other comets, a brighter shine is expected to be seen in the coming days. If things go as predicted, between now and December 2022, the comet will grow to shine brighter and brighter till it either slingshots across the Sun and moves in a random direction or till it breaks apart due to the heat and gets destroyed.
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