If you missed this passerby, you won’t get another chance.
NASA via Giphy
Every so often, Earth gets a visitor from the edge of the Solar System.
Most recently, the comet Leonard made the journey from the Oort Cloud to the inner Solar System and beyond.
It passed by Earth in December 2021, and for a period of time was visible to the naked eye.
Because of its trajectory, that was the only period we will ever see the comet from Earth, explains Leonard.
“Once it passes the Sun, it will be ejected from the Solar System and is going to be flown out for millions of years until likely stumbling into another star system.”
Leonard tells Inverse.
On January 3, Leonard reached perihelion — its closest distance to the Sun.
Even if you missed the rare event in person, scientists and stargazers around the world captured stunning images of Leonard.
Here are 8 incredible views of Comet Leonard: