Green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will fly past Earth for the first time in 50,000 years

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A newly discovered comet will soon appear in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years.

The comet, discovered on March 2, 2022 by astronomers using the Zwicky Wide Field View Camera at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, will approach the Sun on January 12. NASA.

Named C/2022 E3 (ZTF)the comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the outer reaches of the solar system, which is why it took such a long journey — and a long time — to fly by Earth again, according to Planetary Society.

A green comet will appear in the night sky this week for the first time in 50,000 years.

Northern Hemisphere sky watchers with telescopes and binoculars should look low on the northeastern horizon shortly before midnight to spot it on January 12, according to EarthSky.

The icy celestial object, which is steadily brightening as it approaches the Sun, will then make its closest pass of Earth between February 1 and 2 at a distance of about 26 million miles (42 million kilometers), according to EarthSky — as the comet approaches Earth, observers will be able to spot it near the bright North Star, 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 observers in the Northern Hemisphere through most of January and in the Southern Hemisphere in early February.

Depending on how bright it gets in the coming weeks, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may even be visible to the naked eye in a dark sky in late January.

A comet can be distinguished from stars by its tails of dust and energized particles, and by the glowing green coma that surrounds it. A coma is a shell that forms around a comet as it passes close to the sun, causing its ice to sublimate or turn directly into gas. This causes the comet to appear fuzzy when viewed through a telescope.

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Green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will fly past Earth for the first time in 50,000 years

Source link Green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will fly past Earth for the first time in 50,000 years