The days following New Year's 2021 saw a comet discovery with potential.
On the night of January 3, exactly one year to the day prior to perihelion, astronomer Gregory J. Leonard working at the Mount Lemmon Observatory near Tucson Arizona discovered the first long-period comet of the year, C/2021 A1 Leonard.
Shining at magnitude +19 and 5 Astronomical Units (AU) distant (about the distance of Jupiter from the sun) at the time of discovery, early indications hinted that comet A1 Leonard might prove to be something special, come the end of 2021.
On an 80,000 year orbit inbound, Comet A1 Leonard is due for ejection from the solar system after its perihelion passage early next year.
The comet reached aphelion 3,500 AU distant in the Oort Cloud about 35,000 years ago.
The upcoming perihelion pass on January 3, 2022 will be 0.62 AU from the sun, interior to the orbit of Venus.