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This is when Comet Atlas is set to light up the night sky this month




A massive comet will be visible in the skies above England this month.

Comet Atlas, which is five times the size of Jupiter, will be visible from Earth throughout April.

Image of comet Atlas, taken last month. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Image of comet Atlas, taken last month. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

By the end of the month, it should appear in the sky brighter than Venus.

At the moment is it close to Mars' orbit and as it makes its way towards the Sun, it increases in speed and will be closest to the Earth this month.

When the comet gets towards the inner solar system, it will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky across Britain and could yield some of the most clear and dramatic displays anyone has seen in decades.

Since it was discovered, Astronomers think it has grown 4,000 times brighter than when it was first spotted.

Comet Atlas should be visible by the naked eye towards the end of the month. Stock picture
Comet Atlas should be visible by the naked eye towards the end of the month. Stock picture

The comet was first discovered by astronomers at the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (Atlas) at the University of Hawaii.

Astronomers at the university scan the skies for near to Earth objects to see if they are a potential hazard to our planet.

But the good news is Comet Atlas is not a danger to the earth and will zoom past at a distance of about 72 million miles.

Comets are clusters of ice, frozen gases and other chemical elements left over from the formation of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Atlas should become visible to the naked eye during the first weeks of this month.

Astronomers think we could get an amazing display from the comet towards the end of the month
Astronomers think we could get an amazing display from the comet towards the end of the month

It's potential is driven by the fact that it is following the orbit of the Great Comet of 1843, which had a tail twice as long as the distance from the Earth to the sun.

Daniel Brown an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University said: “It’s definitely a promising comet.

“It’s pushing towards a level that by the end of April could look really, really stunning.”

“As they (comets) get closer to the sun they gas off this material and we get this amazing display.

"It’s already at a level of brightness that you can see through binoculars - this beautiful greenish halo around it and a bit of development of the tail.”

And don't forget there is still time to see the International Space Station International Space Station passing over the county.

It's been visible for the last couple of days, but cloudy skies have made it difficult to see in some parts, but over the next couple of nights, people should be able to see it.


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