MOTHER OF DRAGONS COMET (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     4th April 2024        
output themes

Context: Recently, astronomers have spotted the "Mother of Dragons," a rare comet with former horns, now visible in the Northern Hemisphere after dusk.


Mother of Dragons Comet

  • About: The Mother of Dragons comet is officially designated as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks and falls under the category of 'Halley-type' comets due to its orbital characteristics.
  • Orbital Features: With an orbital period of approximately 71 years and a nucleus about 30 km wide, it follows a trajectory that brings it relatively close to Earth during specific intervals.
  • Composition: Comprised of a mixture of ice, dust, and rocky material, the comet undergoes dramatic changes as it approaches the Sun, with heat causing the solid ice within to sublimate into gas.
  • Classification and Orbital Influence: Classified as a Jupiter-family comet, its orbit is significantly affected by the gravitational pull of the giant planet Jupiter, which influences its trajectory and periodicity.
  • Visibility and Close Approach: Typically visible to observers on Earth during its close approach, the Mother of Dragons comet reaches perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, around the orbit of Mars. Its closest approach to Earth is anticipated in June 2024.


Comets

  • About: These are ancient cosmic icebergs, dating back approximately 4.6 billion years, coinciding with the formation of the Solar System.
  • Composition: Comets are primarily composed of dust and ice, with the ice transitioning from solid to gas as the comet approaches the warmth of the Sun.
  • Solar System Formation: They formed concurrently with the Sun, Earth, and other celestial bodies, offering valuable insights into the early stages of our Solar System's evolution.
Samadhaan