The green comet will pass Earth for the first time since Neanderthals moved across Earth

The green comet will pass Earth for the first time since Neanderthals moved across Earth

The green comet will pass Earth for the first time since Neanderthals moved across Earth

A green comet discovered last March will make it closest approach to Earth this month.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California.

It was already in Jupiter’s orbiter.

It has since brightened significantly and is hurtling across the northern constellation Corona Borealis in the early morning sky, according to NASA.

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The green comet will pass Earth for the first time since Neanderthals moved across Earth

The planet Jupiter, 1979. Taken from Voyager 1 20 million kilometers away, this image shows the Great Red Spot, a storm that has been raging for hundreds of years, and two of Jupiter’s moons – Io above the Red Spot and Europa.
((Photo by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images))

The agency notes it’s still too faint to see without a telescope — though an image from December reveals its bright coma, short broad dust tail, and faint ion tail.

The comet is at perihelionclosest to the sun on January 12 and closest to Earth on February 1.

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Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) on July 27, 2020, from the Columbia Icefields (Jasper National Park, Alberta) from the Toe of the Glacier parking lot, looking north over Sunwapta Lake, formed by the summer meltwater of the Athabasca -glacier.

Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) on July 27, 2020, from the Columbia Icefields (Jasper National Park, Alberta) from the Toe of the Glacier parking lot, looking north over Sunwapta Lake, formed by the summer meltwater of the Athabasca -glacier.
((Photo by: Alan Dyer/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty)

NASA notes that the brightness of comets is unpredictable, but by then C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could only just become visible to the eye in the night sky.

“Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet in the morning sky, moving rapidly to the northwest in January (it will become visible in the Southern Hemisphere in early February),” he said.

This comet is not expected to be as spectacular as Comet NEOWISE in 2020.

A Neanderthal at the Human Evolution Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, England, United Kingdom.

A Neanderthal at the Human Evolution Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, England, United Kingdom.
((Photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images))

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It has a full orbit of about 50,000 years, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratorymeaning the last time it came this close to Earth was when Neanderthals roamed the planet.



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