Seeing the phenomenon with the naked eye may be possible, but extremely difficult. Experts advise using telescopes or a pair of binoculars to help find the celestial body.
It was last visible during the Stone Age and this Wednesday, 50,000 years later, the green comet will pass Earth again.
It was discovered on March 2, through the wide-field cameras of the Zwicky Transit Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, California, and was eventually named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), but is better known as Comet green because of the color it reflects.
The star has an orbit around the sun that passes through the outer limits of the Solar System. This extremely long route explains why it took 50,000 years to cross the blue planet again, as the Planetary Society explains.
After making its closest approach to the sun in its history on January 12, the celestial body will pass “close” to Earth – about 42 or 44 million kilometers – on February 1 and 2, EarthSky explains. . The planet’s approach has been streamed live on YouTube, via images from the telescope.
Even at the point of its path where it will be closest to the stratosphere, the green comet will be 100 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, as CNN explains.
As the comet approaches Earth, it will be visible and identified by a faint green spot near the star Polaris, also known as the North Star or Pole Star.
The colors of celestial bodies vary according to their chemical composition and can vary according to the positions they occupy along the orbit, but if you expect them to light up in emerald tones, you are mistaken, as explained by the executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society [Sociedade Real de Astronomia na tradução]Robert Massey, on the BBC.
“Maybe you read somewhere that we’re going to have a bright object light up the sky. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen,” said Robert Massey, indicating that while “a small pair of binoculars might help find it,” it won’t be easy case. “With luck, you’ll see a bit of the tail, so it will look like a classic comet,” predicted the head of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The green comet will be most visible in the northern hemisphere and can be seen with the naked eye depending on the color of the sky at the observer’s geographic location. In the southern hemisphere it will be practically impossible to tell the difference as it will still be daylight. If clouds or bad weather make it difficult to see, the Virtual Telescope Project promises to live stream the green comet’s passage across Rome’s sky.
Apart from the green spot, this or any other comet can be distinguished from a star by the tail of dust and particles caused by the speed with which it is moving. After Earth, Mars will follow, the planet where C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach on February 10.