Home Science Green comet expected to be visible for first time in 50 millennia | Space News

Green comet expected to be visible for first time in 50 millennia | Space News

by News Desk
0 comment

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) can be seen with binoculars, telescopes, and in some areas with the naked eye, brightening.

The green comet will pass the Earth and Sun for the first time in about 50,000 years, so it’s expected to be best visible to stargazers on Wednesday.

The dirty snowball, discovered less than a year ago, last passed near Earth during the time of the Neanderthals, according to NASA.

The space visitor leans against our planet on Wednesday within 42 million kilometers (26 million miles) before speeding off again.

This harmless comet is already visible in the darkest corners of the northern hemisphere, in binoculars and small telescopes, possibly with the naked eye, in the clear northern night sky.

It is expected to brighten as it approaches and rises above the horizon by the end of January, and is best visible before dawn. By February 10th, it will be near Mars, a good landmark.

Southern hemisphere stargazers will have to wait until next month to catch a glimpse.

Finding a remote location to avoid light pollution in populated areas is key to capturing great views of the comet as it moves away from the Sun and passes Earth toward the outer edge of the solar system.

A NASA comet and asteroid tracker expert said that while many comets have graced the skies over the past year, “this one probably looks a little bigger, so it’s a little brighter and a little closer to Earth’s orbit.” Said., Paul Chodas.

A comet, called a “dirty snowball” by astronomers, is a ball of ice, dust, and rock that wanders toward the interior of the solar system when released from various gravitational forces, becoming more intense as it approaches the heat emitted by the Sun. become visible.

Fewer than a dozen comets are discovered each year by observatories around the world.

The green comet was discovered on March 2, 2022 by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility, a wide-field camera at the Palomar Observatory at Caltech, Mount Palomar, California, USA. This explains its official awkward name. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF).

Its greenish-emerald color reflects the comet’s chemical composition. This is the result of sunlight colliding with carbon-based molecules in the comet’s coma (the cloud around the nucleus that makes the comet appear blurry in the sky).

The last time this comet passed Earth was when Neanderthals still inhabited Eurasia, when humans expanded their range beyond Africa, when large Ice Age mammals including mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the landscape, and in the north. When Africa was a wet, fertile and rainy place. .

Because comets formed in the early stages of the solar system, they can provide clues about the early solar system, according to Caltech physics professor Thomas Prince.

NASA plans to observe the comet with the James Webb Space Telescope, which could provide clues about the formation of our solar system.

A virtual telescope project at the Bellatrix Observatory in Ceccano, Italy will now have access to a live feed. here.

This comet is a time capsule from our solar system that emerged 4.5 billion years ago from what is known as the Oort Cloud, well beyond Pluto. The comet’s frigid heaven is thought to stretch more than a quarter of the way to the next star.

According to NASA’s Chodas, the ZTF comet originated in our solar system, but we don’t know if it will stay there. He added that if it were driven out of the solar system, it would never return.

But don’t worry if you miss it.

“The Comet business is just waiting for the next one, because there are dozens of them,” Chodas said. “And the next one might be bigger, brighter, and closer.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Canadian Trends