Watching the Skies: New comet streaks through solar system

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new comet will be visible this December and you’ll want to try to spot it before it disappears forever.

Comet Leonard was discovered earlier this year, but it will be brightest in December. Experts warn it will not be nearly as spectacular as Comet NEOWISE was last year. Still, it will be worth digging out your binoculars and trying to spot it before it exits the solar system entirely in early January.

The comet will be closest to Earth on Dec. 12. In the days leading up to that, try to spot it before sunrise in the east. Binoculars and a spot away from city lights will help. By mid-December, Comet Leonard will be faintly visible in the evening. You can try to spot it in the southwest.

The comet’s trajectory is expected to take Leonard out of the solar system in the new year. Once it exits, it will never be visible to us again.

Comet Leonard will be something to watch for in the morning this week, but there are some great things to try to find in the evening as well. From Monday to Thursday, you’ll be able to watch the thin waxing moon parade by a trio of planets.

Look to the southwest after sunset to see the planets by the moon. Venus will be the brightest of the three and it will be closest to the horizon. Jupiter is second brightest. Look for Jupiter above and to the left of Venus. Saturn will be the less bright planet sandwiched between the two.

On Monday, the moon will be just below Venus. It will move below Saturn Tuesday and below Jupiter on Wednesday. By Thursday, you’ll see the moon pulling away to the upper left of the three planets.

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