Green comet will pass close to Earth for the first time in 50,000 years

Green comet will pass close to Earth for the first time in 50,000 years
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A recently discovered green comet will soon pass by Earth for the first time in 50,000 years. It was last visible in the night sky during the Stone Age.

Discovered on March 2, 2022, by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility’s Wide-Field Survey Camera at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, the comet made its closest approach to the sun on January 12, according to POT.

Called C/2022 E3 (ZTF)The comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the far reaches of the solar system, which is why it has taken such a long route, and a long time, to pass Earth again, according to The Planetary Society.

solar system asteroid belt

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The icy celestial object will make its closest pass by Earth on February 1-2, some 42-44 million kilometers (26-27 million miles) away, according to Earth Heaven.

Even during its closest approach, the comet will still be more than 100 times the moon’s distance from Earth, according to EarthSky.

As the comet approaches Earth, observers will be able to spot it as a faint green spot near the bright star Polaris, also called the North Star. Comets reflect different colors of light due to their current positions in orbit and chemical compositions.

Early morning skies, once the moon has set after midnight for those in the northern hemisphere, are optimal for comet viewing. The space object will be more difficult for those in the southern hemisphere to see.

Depending on its brightness, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may even be visible to the naked eye in dark skies, but binoculars or a telescope will make the comet easier to see.

The comet can be distinguished from the stars by its tails of dust and energized particles, as well as the bright green coma that surrounds it.

The coma is an envelope that forms around a comet when it passes close to the sun, causing its ice to sublimate or turn directly into gas. This causes the comet to appear blurry when viewed through telescopes.

After passing close to Earth, the comet will make its closest approach to Mars on February 10according to EarthSky.

If clouds or inclement weather interfere with observing the sky, The Virtual Telescope Project will share a live broadcast of the comet in the sky over Rome. And don’t miss the other celestial events to watch in 2023.

14 December 2020, Bavaria, Münsing: A shooting star can be seen during the Geminid meteor stream in the starry sky above a tree.  The Geminids are the strongest meteor stream of the year.  Photo by: Matthias Balk/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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