Green comet will be seen for the first time since Stone Age
The comet takes such a long time to pass by the Earth because its orbit around the sun takes it through the outer reaches of the solar system
February 1, 2023 6:55pm
Updated: February 19, 2023 1:46pm
A newly discovered green comet that was last seen during the Stone Age will pass by the Earth on Wednesday and will unlikely return to our planet for millions of years, according to NASA.
The comet, named C/2022 E3 (XTF), was discovered on March 2, 2022, by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California who were using the Zwicky Transient Facility’s wide-field survey camera.
The comet takes such a long time to pass by the Earth because its orbit around the sun takes it through the outer reaches of the solar system, according to The Planetary Society.
C/2022 E3 (XTF) made its closest approach to the sun on January 12, NASA added. Now it will pass by earth between February 1 and 2 about 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) away.
The green giant will be seen in the sky as it approaches our planet, near the North Star. Observers will be able to recognize it and distinguish it from other stars by its green appearance and its streaking tails of dust and energized particles. However, it will be harder to see for those in the Southern Hemisphere.
“There’s a lot that we can learn from this comet. It’s very rare that we have the opportunity to have a comet that comes this close to Earth and is so bright,” Bryce Bolin of the Zwicky Transient Facility told Al Jazeera.
The comet will then move on to make its closest approach to Mars on February 10, according to EarthSky.
Here’s my first effort at capturing the “Green Comet”, Comet c/2022 E3 (ZTF). This was a particular challenge due to humid conditions and clouds, but I’m thrilled I was able to capture it at all! pic.twitter.com/t2VGEnfKX8— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy) January 19, 2023