Green Comet to Appear in Sky at Night For the First Time in 50,000 Years

Green Comet to Appear in Sky at Night For the First Time in 50,000 Years

  • A bright green comet, named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), will soon be visible from Earth for the first time in 50,000 years
  • The comet is expected to come closest to the sun on January 12th, and it will be visible in the morning sky in the Northern Hemisphere
  • NASA has reported that the comet has been gradually becoming brighter as it gets closer to the sun. With the help of binoculars, it should be visible

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A bright green comet, known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), will make its debut in the Earth's night skies for the first time after 50,000 years.

Bright green comet
The comet will fly past Earth later this week. Photo: Alan Dyer/NASA.
Source: UGC

Comet comes close to the earth

The comet will have its closest approach to the sun on January 12, and will be observable in the morning sky in the Northern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, in Australia, it will be visible from February, reaching its closest distance to Earth on February 2, which is 42 million kilometres away, NASA said

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During this time it can be visible near the star Polaris. Observers will be able to spot it earlier in the evening as it comes closer to Earth.

NASA said that it should be visible in the morning sky for those in the Northern Hemisphere throughout January and early February for those in the Southern Hemisphere.

The comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first observed on March 2, 2022, by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in California, using the Zwicky Transient Facility's camera.

Reason for extended journey

It has a long orbit around the sun that takes it through the outer regions of the solar system.

This is the reason for its extended journey and the long period before returning to Earth, according to The Planetary Society.

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C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may be visible to the naked eye under dark sky conditions in the later parts of January, depending on how bright it becomes in the coming weeks.

It is identifiable by its distinctive dust and energized particles tails, as well as its bright green coma, which is an envelope of gas that forms around the comet as it moves closer to the sun.

The coma causes the ice on the comet to turn directly into gas, resulting in a fuzzy appearance when viewed through telescopes.

To the Moon and beyond: NASA's Artemis program

Meanwhile, NASA last year launched the Artemis programme, which is a plan to return humans to the Moon as a stepping stone for an eventual voyage to Mars.

Twelve men walked on the Moon between 1969 and 1972 and one of the goals of Artemis is to put the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface.

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The first test flight of an uncrewed Artemis rocket is to take place on Monday. The name Artemis was chosen to echo that of the Apollo program.

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