Mother of Dragons comet

April 3, 2024

A rare, formerly-horned comet that astronomers have dubbed the "Mother of Dragons" is now visible after dusk in the Northern Hemisphere.

About Mother of Dragons comet:

  • It is officially known as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. It is a ‘Halley-type’ comet with an orbital period of roughly 71 years and a nucleus approximately 30 km wide.
  • Composition: It is composed of ice, dust and rocky material. When it approaches the Sun, heat causes the ice inside the comet to turn from solid to gas.
  • It is classified as a Jupiter-family comet, meaning its orbit is influenced by Jupiter's gravitational pull.
  • It typically reaches perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) around the orbit of Mars and can become visible to observers on Earth during its close approach. Its closest approach to Earth will occur in June 2024.

Key facts about Comets:

  • Comets are ancient cosmic icebergs. They are roughly 4.6 billion years old and formed at the same time as the Sun, Earth and the other planets.
  • They are made of dust and ice, which partly goes from solid to gas when the comet is warmed by the Sun.