Northern lights: Jupiter and Venus set amid the northern lights as seen from Ruka, Finland, in early 2012.
Friday, December 17
2021’s best comet, C/2021 A1 (Leonard), floats just 5° below Venus in the evening sky tonight. Depending on the Leonard’s current magnitude, it may be just visible to the naked eye in the falling twilight.
To catch the stunning scene, turn southwest after sunset. You absolutely won’t be able to miss Venus’ magnitude –4.9 glow, still 20° above the horizon as the Sun disappears. Let the sky begin to darken and your eyes adjust with it as you start scanning for Leonard’s faint, fuzzy coma.
Binoculars will greatly aid your search, but make sure the Sun is completely gone from the sky before pulling them out. If you’re an astrophotographer, you won’t want to miss this picturesque view, and photographs will certainly bring out Leonard’s still-bright dust tail and enhance the amount of i...