It seems likely the 12P/Pons-Brook comet will be visible at the same time as the 2024-04-08 American eclipse.

How unusual is this and what can science say about what will appear?

What other historical (or future) examples are there.


1 Answer 1


Fairly common. Comets will reach their maximum brightness near to the sun, and so in the days before space-based searches for comets and asteroids, it was possible for a comet to have travelled unseen to the inner solar system, and be discovered only during an eclipse.

In 1948 such a comet the Eclipse Comet of 1948 (or C/1948 V1) was discovered this way. It had reached magnitude -2 at perihelion but was close to the sun and lost in the glare so it hadn't been seen until the total eclipse that year.

Comets were also reported to be visible during the eclipse on May 1882 and April 1893 and Hale-Bopp was already faintly visible in March 1997. A bright comet was recorded by multiple observers in the eclipse of 418 AD.

Generally, you might expect one or two naked eye comets a year, and they would be near the sun for a couple of weeks, so a back-of-the-envelope calculation would suppose that about 1/20 of eclipses might have a visible comet.

Sources Mr Eclipse, eclipse comets Wikipedia C/1948v1


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