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Surprise brightening of a comet!

Comet 12P Pons-Brooks is undergoing a transformation visible to the naked eye. The comet has brightened rapidly from magnitude 6 to reported magnitudes of 3.5 – from a binocular comet to a naked eye in a matter of days!

What causes this phenomena? It's likely that an ice geyser burst forth from the comet's surface, ejecting a blend of reflective gas and dust into the void of space. This occurrence couldn't have been better timed for sky-watchers eager to capture images of the comet amidst the darkened moments of Monday's total solar eclipse in the USA.

Finnish astrophotographer Jarno Paananen captured the outburst with his Poseidon-M Pro camera and 8" Ritchey–Chrétien telescope.

As night falls, the comet appears in the western sky, situated near the planet Jupiter. From a dark sky site unaided eye can see the comet’s nucleus as a faint and small blur. However, with the assistance of cameras and even modest telescopes, observers are treated to the spectacular sight of the comet's trailing tail.

A piece of advice for eclipse photographers: Equip yourself with two cameras—one to focus on the sun, and another dedicated to capturing Comet 12P. You'll likely appreciate having both at your disposal. Images capturing a comet within the Moon's shadow are extremely rare sightings!