Comet P12/Pons-Brooks

Nov. 29, 2023

Astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have photographed the enigmatic Comet P12/Pons-Brooks by using the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) from the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Hanle, Ladakh.

About Comet P12/Pons-Brooks:

  • It is a celestial object that has been playfully nicknamed the 'Devil Comet' or likened to the 'Millennium Falcon' for its distinctive appearance.
  • This comet, first discovered in the year 1812, completes an orbit around the Sun every 71 years. Its recent activity has been particularly striking, with multiple outbursts of gas and dust that have dramatically increased its brightness.
  • The comet's atmosphere, visible as a spherical halo, spans an impressive 3,50,000 kilometres in diameter, 

Key Facts about the Himalayan Chandra Telescope

  • It is a 2-meter optical-infrared telescope named after Nobel laureate Subramaniam Chandrasekhar.
  • It is at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) in Hanle, near Leh in Ladakh.
  • It is currently the tenth-highest optical telescope in the world, situated at an elevation of 4,500 meters.
  • The telescope isremotely operated using a dedicated satellite communication link from the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore.
  • Imaging instruments include a Faint Object Spectrograph, a near-infrared and an optical CCD camera.