Citizens who live near the coastal regions of Washington and Oregon, along with a few cities like Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and Tacoma will have the chance to admire a remarkable spectacle on the night sky – the Y4 comet.
The Y4 comet was spotted on December 28, 2019, and current data infers that it is shaping up to be one of the brightest objects that will be visible from Earth and especially the Pacific Northwest. At this point, it is not known if the brightness will be present in the form of a fiery ball or a slow-moving globe similar to the Hale-Bopp. Most researchers agree that it should be visible with the naked eye.
Y4 and a large number of other comets were spotted during project ATLAS (Asteroid-Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, which was conducted with the aim to track down dangerous asteroids that could crash into the surface of our planet at some point in the future.
The Y4 Comet To Light Up The Night Sky
When the discovery took place, Y4 was still a distant object in the sky, and only the most powerful hardware could detect it. The magnitude of the brightness started to increase silently, from 8 to 19.6, or approximately four thousand times. It is now at the borders of the solar system, but it is not possible to see it with the naked eye for now.
The comet is close to the orbit of Mars, and as it will go closer to the sun, the layers of ice will start to heat up, leading to the appearance of an impressive tail. Interested stargazers should have the chance to spot the comet with binoculars during the month of April.
It is worth pointing out that it is hard to determine the structure of a comet without close observations, and many tempt to vanish before they get close to Earth as the ice which holds the rocks together melts.