A comet with a green glow will make its closest approach to Earth since the Neanderthal era tonight (Feb. 1 to 2), and if you look at the right time, you might be able to spot it.
The comet, known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), will come within 26.4 million miles (42.8 million kilometers) of our planet at its closest approach in about 50,000 years, according to EarthSky (Opens in a new tab). The comet has been shining brightly in the night sky since January and will pass between the orbs Mars and earth for the next two nights it was traveling at about 128,500 mph (207,000 km/h).
Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, who lack a clear view of the night sky, will be able to spot the comet without a telescope due to light pollution. If you can’t make it to the serene location, you can still take action on the beach. Virtual Telescope Project in livestream (Opens in a new tab) the event, which will begin at 11 pm EST.
To view the comet, look in the northern sky between the Great Dipper and the North Star.
“There is a patch of sky immediately to the right of the North, ending between the Dippers,” said Ben Burress, an astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in California. he told KQED (Opens in a new tab). “The count is now between the great and the small themes. It will look like a small though light raw cloth, perhaps slightly green.”
Why green? Like comets by whiz of the sunthe star’s energy dissipates into the comet’s vapors, which form a coma—a thin, short atmosphere around a rocky body. The color of her hair depends on her makeup. In the case of Comet C/2022 E3, some of that gas contains diatomic carbon, a molecule made up of two fused carbons. atoms. When those molecules are ravaged by ultraviolet rays, they turn green.
Comet C/2022 E3 was discovered in March 2022 by astronomers in California’s Zwicky Transient.
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