A green comet appears in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years
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A recently discovered comet will soon appear in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years.
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 will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12, according to NASA.
called C/2022 E3 (ZTF)the comet orbits the sun passing through the outer regions of the solar system, which is why it took such a long journey — and a long time — to swing past Earth again, according to The planetary society.
Northern hemisphere skygazers using telescopes and binoculars would have to look low on the northeast horizon just before midnight to see it on Jan. 12, according to EarthSky.
Steadily brightening as it approaches the sun, the icy body will then make its closest approach to Earth between February 1 and February 2, about 26 million miles away, according to EarthSky — as the comet approaches Earth, observers will be able to see it near the bright star Polaris, also called the North Star, and it should be visible earlier in the evening.
According to NASA, the comet should be visible through binoculars in the morning sky for northern hemisphere stargazers through most of January and those in the southern hemisphere in early February.
Depending on how bright it gets in the coming weeks, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may even become visible to the naked eye in dark skies by the end of January.
The comet can be distinguished from stars by its streaking tails of dust and energetic particles, as well as the glowing green coma surrounding it. The coma is an envelope that forms around a comet when it gets close to the sun, causing the ice to sublime or turn directly into gas. This makes the comet look blurry when observed through telescopes.
And miss the other celestial events to watch in 2023.
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