Shadi Abdel-Hafiz

The research team of the Hubble Space Observatory was able to confirm the fragmentation of the comet "Atlas" (C / 2019 Y4 ATLAS), which was supposed to pass next to Earth in May, and many relied that it could be observed with the naked eye, because it was the brightest Sky comets of 2020.

It became evident, in the photos taken by the Hubble telescope over the past 20 and 23 April that the comet - whose body was composed of rocks, snow, and dust the width of two football fields with a tail of 3.3 million km - crumbled into more than thirty pieces, each the size small house.

According to a statement issued by the American Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the size and nature of this fragmentation indicates that the fragmentation of comets - when approaching the sun - is the usual thing, and it is rare for the comet to retain itself after passing from the perihelion point close to the sun.

The research team of the Hubble Observatory attributed the fragmentation of this type of comet to the hypothesis that its approach to the sun raises the temperature of its surface, so the ice begins in the body of the comet to melt, which creates jets of gas and dust appearing in the form of a long, bright comet tail, but those jets are distributed in the form of It is uneven on its surface, which encourages its fragmentation.

Some astronomers of the world, and many astronomers as well, have drawn the attention of the general public to the proximity of an atlas to Earth, and the possibility of its appearance in the sky is evident as a medium-bright star in May, in the northeast horizon after sunset.

A picture taken by Gerald Riemann of "Swan" and shown by NASA on the NASA daily astronomical platform.

A new visitor,
but the night sky, as it seems, is still full of interesting miracles, as one of the amateur astronomers - Michael Matiaso - after examining data from the Sun Observatory and its Cover (SOHO) was able to confirm a new comet approaching the Earth called "Swan" (C / 2020 F8 SWAN), last April 11.

The inhabitants of the southern hemisphere can see this comet better now, when it crosses through the constellation Aquarius, but it looks very faint for the naked eye, and needs a dark sky.

And Swan is likely to appear clear to us in the north of the equator, from mid to the end of May, when it is at a distance of about eighty million km from the earth, where it will appear as a slightly dim star (from the third pot), and we can see it just before sunrise in Northeast, and sunset, northwest.

We do not yet know much data about "Swan", but it appears in the image that NASA showed on the daily astronomical image platform a comet with an exceptionally long tail, but data such as shape, length, and duration of the orbit are not yet known.

In any case, we hope that "Swan" will make up for what was lost by "Atlas", and that we will be able in the Arab world to contemplate an interesting astronomical phenomenon that rarely appears in our sky.