Will the Hudson Valley Get to See the Brightest Comet of the Year?
Look up! Astronomy watchers will be excited to know that the year's brightest comet will soon be seen in the skies above. It is known as Leonard's Comet. But while this comet was just discovered in January 2021, it's journey towards Earth has taken over 70,000 years. By comparison, Halley's Comet arrives once every 76 years. But once again, the big question will be the weather. Will the Hudson Valley have a real chance to see it?
The Virtual Telescope Project says that Leonard's can be seen in the morning through December 13. The morning of Monday, December 6 will offer the best viewing, as Leonard's will be near the star Arcturus, close to the horizon. Sources say you'll probably need a pair of binoculars or a telescope to see it best. Scientists are calling this a "once in a lifetime event", for once Leonard's passes Earth it will be ejected from our solar system, never to be seen again.
By December 14, Leonard's Comet can be seen in the night sky even without binoculars for a few nights. So, the weather? Hudson Valley Weather is predicting clouds and rain showers Monday morning. Wouldn't you know it. Perhaps we can see it on one of the other nights?
December is shaping up to be quite the month for star watchers. Early next week, the Geminid meteor shower will peak across the skies, giving viewers one of the year's best meteor showers. AccuWeather says, "The Geminids peak on the night of Monday, Dec. 13 into the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 14." Over 100 meteors per hour could be seen across the skies of the Hudson Valley. The Geminids however, are not the leftovers from Leonard's Comet. They are the debris left from a comet known as 3200 Phaethon.