The green comet will pass Earth for the first time in 50,000 years

The green comet will pass Earth for the first time in 50,000 years

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A recently discovered green comet will soon whiz past 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 Jan. 12, according to NASA.

called C/2022 E3 (ZTF)the comet orbits the sun passing through the outer regions of the solar system. The planetary society.

The icy celestial body will make its closest approach to Earth between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, about 26 million miles to 27 million miles (42 million kilometers to 44 million kilometers) away, according to EarthSky.

Even at closest approach, the comet will still be more than 100 times the lunar distance from Earth, according to EarthSky.

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

The early morning sky, when the moon has set after midnight for those in the Northern Hemisphere, is optimal for viewing the comet. The space object will be harder to see for people in the southern hemisphere.

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 more visible.

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.

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

If clouds or bad weather get in the way of looking at the sky, The Virtual Telescope Project will share a live stream of the comet in the sky over Rome. And miss the other celestial events to watch in 2023.

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