March 30, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Research: The Green Comet Not Seen Since Cave Days Swinging Earth

Depending on the weather, early Tuesday morning may be the best viewing opportunity.

This image provided by Dan Bartlett shows comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) on December 19, 2022. It was last visited during the days of Neanderthals, according to NASA. (Dan Bartlett via The Associated Press)

Green comet was not It has been seen since woolly mammoths and neanderthals walked the earth This winter passes us by. Don’t miss your chance to see it.

Depending on the weather, early Tuesday morning may be the best viewing opportunity.

Michael Kelly, a research scientist in the University of Maryland’s Department of Astronomy, told WTOP that the morning hours are when the comet appears highest in the sky. It will appear very close to the North Star. But if you are a night owl, then later in the week the evenings are more suitable for watching them.

Pack binoculars, or a telescope if you have one, and head out of town where there is minimal light pollution, Kelly said. This will be the best chance of seeing the comet, depending on cloud cover.

“It’s really fun to see a comet for yourself if you have that chance. Hopefully we can have clear skies and everyone can experience it,” Kelly said.

The green comet has not been so close to Earth in about 50,000 years. Its orbit makes its way to the Oort Cloud, which is the edge of our solar system.

“It’s fun to think about how old these things are, how old is Earth, and how old are all those parts of our solar system,” Kelly said. “We’re just a small part of that.”

Right now, it’s traveling about 90,000 miles per hour in about one-third of the distance from Earth to the sun. The moon is a hundred times closer. But still, Kelly told WTOP that not many Oort cloud comets come this close, and this particular comet may never pass close to Earth again.

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“Each time Oort cloud comets come into the inner solar system, the planets get a chance to push them around or pull them in with gravity. This, in particular, may never come back again, there is a small chance that it could be expelled from the solar system,” Kelly said.

Although you may not be able to see the comet’s green color with the naked eye or even with binoculars, amateur astronomers have captured dazzling images of the emerald’s glow.

Kelly likened the comet to a “big space snowball,” made up of dust and ice. The ice turns into gas, forming a cloud of gases around the comet called a coma.

“This beautiful green color comes from the gas surrounding the comet,” Kelly said.

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