For the First Time in 50,000 Years, a Green Comet Will Pass Earth

The first green comet to show up in the Earth’s sky in 50,000 years will do it once more. The comet’s most recent encounter, according to NASA, occurred during the Neanderthal era. On Wednesday, it will approach Earth by 42 million kilometers before continuing on its course and probably not coming back for millions of years. This green comet was found less than a year ago, and binoculars and telescopes can be used to view it in the northern night sky. In the most remote regions of the Northern Hemisphere, visual perception is still achievable.

The best time to see the comet is early in the morning. Through the end of January, it is anticipated to get brighter as it approaches and rises higher over the horizon. The comet will be close to Mars by February 10. Southern Hemisphere viewers will have to wait until the next month to watch it. Paul Chodas is the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies in California. “This one seems probably a little bit bigger and therefore a little bit brighter and it’s coming a little bit closer to the Earth’s orbit,” according to Chodas, despite the fact that other comets have been visible in the sky over the past year.

Researchers used the Zwicky Transient Facility, a specialized camera at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory, to find the comet last March. That explains its official, complex name: comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF). The comet will travel at a relative velocity of 207,000 kilometers per hour between the orbits of Earth and Mars on Wednesday. Its tails stretch millions of kilometers, and its nucleus, or center, is estimated to be roughly 1.6 kilometers across. It is anticipated that the comet will not be quite as bright as Hale-Bopp in the mid- to late-1990s or Neowise in 2020.

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