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Comet Leonard puts on a final, spectacular display with ion tail in solar wind

A view of Comet Leonard as seen over Australia. (Image credit: James Yu/Getty Images)

Comet Leonard is falling out of view, but not without putting on one last show.

Discovered just a year ago, the comet, formally known as Comet C/2021 A1, made its closest approach to Earth on Dec. 12, marking the climax of a month full of prime observing opportunities. As the comet has continued on its journey through the inner solar system, however, something has changed: its tail has taken on the appearance of twisted streamers, even as the core of the comet became brighter.



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