Comet Leonard seen with the help of a telescope on November 28. Photo courtesy of University of Hertfordshire Observatory

This Christmas, stargazers will get a gift as the brightest comet of 2021 moves through the evening sky. Comet C/2021 A1, more commonly referred to as comet Leonard, was discovered earlier this year and made its closest approach to Earth on December 12th. Before its approach, it was visible only in the early morning sky, but its journey has now made it more prominent in the evening sky. The “Christmas comet” will appear in the evening sky throughout the rest of the year, but you should look for it sooner rather than later as it will become dimmer and dimmer heading into the last days of the month. Program executive at NASA headquarters, Gordon Johnston says, “This comet should be visible with a backyard telescope or binoculars and may be visible to the naked eye under very clear and dark observing conditions.” He says it will look like a fuzzy green star with a small tail. The coming nights will be the only chance to see comet Leonard as it will not swing past Earth again for another 80,000 years.