Source: Shivali Best For Mailonline

NASA explained: ‘Which one of these two streaks is a comet? Although they both have comet-like features, the lower streak is the only real comet.

‘This lower streak shows the coma and tail of Comet Leonard, a city-sized block of rocky ice that is passing through the inner Solar System as it continues its looping orbit around the Sun.’

Comet Leonard recently made its closest approach to Earth and will round the Sun next week.

‘The comet, still visible to the unaided eye, has developed a long and changing tail in recent weeks,’ NASA explained.

‘In contrast, the upper streak is the launch plume of the Ariane V rocket that lifted the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) off the Earth two days ago.’

Comet Leonard’s closest pass of the Sun, on January 3, 2022, will take it within 56 million miles of our star, which is about half the distance between Earth and the Sun. 

If it doesn’t disintegrate on its way to the Sun, then Comet Leonard’s trajectory will fling it into interstellar space, never to return. 

But according to scientists, it may already be splitting up less than a year after it was first discovered, or it will begin to split up soon. 

When a comet’s orbit brings it close to the Sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head larger than most planets.