Volcanic ‘devil comet’ racing toward Earth resprouts its horns after erupting again

The “devil” comet’s distinctive horns were first spotted after a major eruption on July 20. (Image credit: Comet Chasers/Richard Miles)

A volcanic “devil comet” that is racing toward Earth erupted again on Halloween, causing it to regrow its distinctive “horns.” The latest outburst, which was the second within a month and the third since July, is a reminder that the comet is becoming more volcanically active as it continues its journey toward the heart of the solar system.  

The comet, named 12P/Pons-Brooks (12P), is a cryovolcanic, or cold volcano, comet. Like other comets, 12P has a solid nucleus — a hard, icy shell filled with ice, gas and dust — that is surrounded by a fuzzy cloud, or coma made of materials that leak out of the comet’s insides.