26 March 2024, by Jan de Boer

Comet 12 / Pons-Brooks, popularly known as the Devil Comet, will once again be visible to the naked eye in the Netherlands, after over 70 years of travelling around the cosmos! Here’s how you can see the stunning natural phenomenon over the next few days.

You can see the Devil comet this month in the Netherlands

Comet 12 / Pons-Brooks will be visible in the Netherlands from now until early April, according to astronomers. During that time, the comet will be passing by Earth, getting as close as 230 million kilometres by June – though by then it will only be visible in the southern hemisphere. While this sounds like quite a distance, it will be close enough to see with the naked eye.

The passing of the Devil Comet is a rare cosmic treat, with the body last passing Earth on June 29, 1954. The comet itself was first discovered by Jean-Louis Pons in 1812, before being rediscovered by William Robert Brooks in the 1880s, hence its double-barrelled name.

What is the best day to see the Comet 12 / Pons-Brooks?

If you want to try and spot the comet, your best chance will come if you head out into the darkness between now and April 8, 2024. While the Devil Comet will be at its brightest in early April, it should be easiest to spot in late March.

Stargazers will be able to identify the Devil Comet by the famous shimmering green bursts of light it emits as it passes across the night sky.

Where to spot the Devil Comet in the Netherlands

Your best chance to see the comet will be from 7.30pm in the evening as it starts to get dark in the Netherlands. The comet will emerge from the west around 10 degrees above the horizon – a good rule of thumb is that it should be three hand widths to the left of Jupiter in the night sky. It will then pass through the constellations of Andromeda, Pisces and Aries before disappearing below the horizon at 10.30pm.

While the Devil Comet will be visible to the naked eye, meteorology service MeteoNews advised stargazers to bring binoculars or even a telescope to see the phenomenon in all its glory. The weather will of course be a factor, so be sure to pick a day between now and April when the skies are expected to remain clear.

As with meteor showers, to see the comet it’s best to try to find a place with as little artificial light as possible. This usually means leaving cities and heading to quiet fields, hills or even to a Dutch national park.

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