is approaching Earth for the first time in
This is one of the most anticipated astronomical sightings since the celestial body was first discovered nearly a year ago.
can be seen in
thanks to its intense green glow, which is produced by the
melting of the ice in its nucleus
as it approaches the Sun. This caused it to release a
tail of gases and dust
, which is visible to the naked eye .
Named by scientists as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the
transiting in the orbit of Jupiter
and was discovered in March 2022 with a telescope from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) astronomical project, in California, United States.
What will the passage of the green comet be like?
According to NASA, the
last visited us in Neanderthal times.
This 2023 will come within
42 million kilometers
(26 million miles) on Wednesday, February 1 before receding again, probably not to return for
millions of years
The green comet was discovered just under a year ago.
Discovered less than a year ago, the harmless
is visible in the night sky only with binoculars or small telescopes, and possibly with the naked eye in the darkest corners of
the Northern Hemisphere
On its way,
it will grow brighter
as it approaches our planet and rises higher above the horizon until the end of January.
The best hours to see it will be shortly before
While many comets have graced the sky in the past year, "this one appears to be a bit
and therefore a bit
and comes a bit closer to Earth's orbit," the comet and asteroid guru said. from NASA,
will pass between the orbits of
Earth and Mars
on February 1 at a relative speed of 207,000 km/h (128,500 mph).
is estimated to be 1,600 meters (one mile) in diameter and its
extend millions of kilometers (miles).
What gives the comet its green color?
formed by dust, stones and frozen gases, which circulate at the limits of
the solar system
However, sometimes they feel attracted to the Sun King.
When this happens, the heat from the star slowly begins to evaporate, so
a cloud called a coma and tail forms around it
In this case, the
is due to the gases it contains, it is caused by the presence of
that absorbs the sun's ultraviolet rays.
It's not projected to look as bright as the
Neowise of 2020 or the Hale Bopp
and Hyakutake of the mid to late 1990s.
But "it will be bright by virtue of its close pass to Earth ... Which will allow scientists to do more experiments and people to see a beautiful comet," said Karen Meech, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii.
So much so, that since it was discovered
, the brightness of this green comet has increased
drastically, which is why astronomers estimate that
between February 1 and 2 it could be visible without the help of instruments.
Green kite: when and at what time will it be seen
As we said, the
began to be visible from the end of January and will continue to be so until mid-February.
There will be two different viewing periods.
From January 20 to 31, those who live in the northern hemisphere and different tropical latitudes had the opportunity to enjoy it.
from February 1 to 10, it will be best seen in the southern hemisphere
The optimal time will be between 45 minutes after sunset and up to three hours later.
Especially, during the night
of February 4,
it can be observed more clearly.
In Argentina, during the night of February 4, it will be seen more clearly.
Photo: Dan Bartlett/AP
In Argentina, the trajectory of the green comet in the north
of the country
can be seen more easily .
For this reason, in other areas it is best to observe it with binoculars or small telescopes.
“February 2 is going to be the day that passes closest to earth.
Between February 5 and 7 are good days to be able to observe it from the southern hemisphere.
Around the end of January, it was seen better in the northern hemisphere,” explained Diego Bagú, an astronomer at the National University of La Plata, in dialogue with sitioandino.com.ar.
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