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42 million kilometers away: Green comet reaches closest point to Earth


The last time the Neanderthals had the chance to spot the tail star. Now it comes very close to our planet again on Wednesday – at 42 million kilometers. With luck you can see it with the naked eye.

Enlarge image

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF): It last passed our planet about 50,000 years ago

Photo: Dan Bartlett / REUTERS

It stays at a safe distance: During one of its rare rendezvous with Earth, the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will reach its closest distance to our planet this Wednesday.

According to the Association of Star Friends, the distance between our home planet and the celestial body is still 42 million kilometers.

That's almost a third of the distance from Earth to the sun.

The comet is currently in the sky all night, but the best conditions for seeing it are not there.

Star friends report that there will be better visibility in the northern starry sky in the second week of February.

The reason: The earth's satellite, which increases to the full moon, disturbs with its light at the beginning of February.

With luck you can see the green comet with the naked eye, according to the star friends.

In any case, if there are gaps in the clouds, this should be possible with binoculars or a telescope.

50,000 kilometer particle envelope

The comet passes the earth about every 50,000 years - the Neanderthals last had a chance to see it.

According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the piece is around one kilometer in size and has a greenish shimmering coma, a kind of particle shell, covering around 50,000 kilometers.

According to the DLR, the green color is caused by a gas that is produced by heating in the sun.

Comets come from the extreme and frigid edge of the solar system and are left over from planet formation.

According to the DLR, they consist of dust grains, organic molecules and, because of their low temperature, frozen gases.

The high proportion of volatile matter distinguishes them from asteroids.

They are sometimes pushed out of their original orbit by gravity or collisions and then end up close to the sun or the earth.

The celestial body C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is so named because it was first seen from an observatory in the United States last year as part of a program called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF).


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-31

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