Calgary's forecast for a once-in-a-lifetime look at Comet Leonard

Dec 10 2021, 7:28 pm

Look up this weekend for a rare sight of Comet Leonard, because you’ll only get to see it once in your entire lifetime.

It may even be bright enough to see with the naked eye, says NASA. But will it be decently clear in Calgary for viewing?

C/2021 A1, also known as Comet Leonard, is expected to reach peak size and visibility in the Northern Hemisphere’s eastern skies this weekend, according to AstroGeo.

For the best view, AstroGeo says Canadians should keep their eyes on the skies on Saturday, December 11, around 6:30 pm local time.

Earth Sky recommends waiting for the sky to get dark and grabbing a pair of 10×50 binoculars to see the comet.

Stargazers will have their last chance to see the comet at its brightest and largest in the early hours of Sunday, December 12, according to Sky & Telescope

Comet leonard

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The forecast for the comet’s appearance seems to be working against Calgary, unfortunately.

According to Environment Canada, Saturday night is forecast to be cloudy with a 60% chance of rain showers or flurries, so it may be a bit hard to peer through that cloud cover to catch a glimpse of Comet Leonard.

A high of -6ºC is expected overnight.

comet leonard

Environment Canada

Skies are predicted to clear up a bit on Sunday, with a mix of sun and cloud throughout the day, so perhaps during the early hours of December 12, the clouds will start to part and we’ll have a better shot at seeing this comet for the only time in our lives.

Why is this a once-in-a-lifetime event? According to Sky & Telescope, the comet takes tens of thousands of years to complete an orbit around the sun.

With files from Laine Mitchell

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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