Rare, Green Comet To Make An Appearance Starting This Week
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Starting January 12, 2023, stargazers will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a rare comet with a greenish hue. Astronomers discovered Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in March 2022 when it was inside Jupiter's orbit. NASA scientists believe this may be the comet's first sighting. If the icy body did pass our planet previously, it was probably thousands of years ago.
"If C/2022 E3 has ever passed through the solar system before, it would have last been seen in the sky more than 10,000 years ago," says Jon Giorgini, a senior analyst at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The icy celestial body is expected to reach its closest proximity to the Sun on January 12, 2023. When comets come this close to the Sun, their ice turns into gas. The temporary atmosphere causes a glow that can sometimes be seen from Earth.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be visible through binoculars in the morning sky in the Northern Hemisphere during most of January. Those in the Southern Hemisphere will have to wait until February 1, 2023. That's when the comet will make its closest approach to Earth, at 28 million miles (45 million kilometers) away. At that point, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may even be visible to the unaided eye from an area with dark, clear skies.
Since the comet's path is still being tracked, scientists are unsure where it will go after visiting Earth. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could gain momentum and fling out of the solar system. It could also remain bound to its elliptical orbit and make another trip around the Sun.
Happy stargazing! Be sure to share your experience with us by writing your comments below.
Resources: NPR.com, NASA.gov, Livescience.com
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- followme1234567about 2 monthsI saw it was awesome.
- summ3r-humm3r2 monthsi missed,but my cousin saw it!!!
- heartsfromlydia3 monthsi missed it:(
- dog_lover20123 monthsI saw it, it looked very cool.
- princessama4 monthsI miss it to
- demon-nick4 monthsI miss every thing cool
- jilani4 monthsToo bad I missed it :(
- princessama4 monthsI'm so sorry that you missed it
- jilani4 monthsToo bad I missed it
- princepoisian4 monthsOMG I SAW THIS AND THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A STAR IT IS SO PRETTY
- jeandance4 monthsI see one every year, but I missed this year. I only see it on February second, and I think this is why February second is bad luck!!!