One of the current cosmic events is the Comet Atlas itinerary through the Solar System. From January to March, it was a guest in Ursa Major. Starting April, Atlas mas moved to the constellation of Camelopardalis, but it will stay there only for a month or so, because on May 12 it is expected by the stars in Perseus constellation.
Scientists concluded that Atlas isn’t a newly come. It looks like every celestial body in the Solar System had made its acquaintance some five millennia ago, back when the Egyptians were building the pyramids.
C/2019 Y4 Atlas is a double-tailed comet. It has a gaseous tail and a dusting one. And it is becoming brighter by the day. From December, when it was spotted, until the end of March, it has brightened 398,000 times. It’s competing for the Sun, with which it has a scheduled meeting on May 31. If it makes it by then, there seem to be reasons to believe Atlas could fall apart.
Comet Atlas is toxic
Comet Atlas is also a poisonous comet. Its greenish tint gave it away. When exposed to ultraviolet, the cyanogen inside the core becomes fluorescent.
Cyanogen is a gas generated from cyanide compounds. It is colorless, toxic, and it has a hasty odor. Cyanogen comes from Greek words kyanos and gennao, which translate into creating blue, and it got stuck with the name since it was first isolated from a pigment called Prussian Blue.
The first comet to have been diagnosed as cyanogen poisonous was Halley’s Comet in 1910.
Halley’s provoked quite the panic a century ago, but luckily its tail was so diffuse that nothing happened. Atlas seems to have a thin gas tail too, but scientists say that the toxic gas will sweep stars that come close to it. So, maybe the Ursa Major isn’t thrilled with the three-month extended visit from the Comet Atlas that it had to host.