There is something both beautiful and terrifying about comet Leonard’s appearance in our evening sky. This time last year no one knew it even existed.
For the last 40,000 years the comet has been hurtling inbound from the depths of our solar system on its 80,000-year orbit. Greg J Leonard discovered this expectant visitor back in January and his namesake finally became visible to the naked eye this month.
Beautiful because visible comets are a rarity in our night skies. Terrifying because we had no prior knowledge of its inbound journey and then how terribly close to earth it came. It is a reminder that we have no idea what is out there coming for a visit and very little time to react when discovered.
This time, astronomers and stargazers around the world got to see comet Leonard as a delightful visitor to our solar system and to our night sky.