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The green comet is approaching Earth for the first time in 50,000 years. This is how you can watch it | Science and Technology | The latest discoveries and studies from DW Arabia | DW

For the first time in about 50,000 years, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), known as the green comet, will approach Earth on Wednesday (February 1, 2023). The last time the comet approached Earth was during the last ice age and the time of the Neanderthals.

Impressively, the comet will be at its brightest during this time and may be visible to the naked eye under the right conditions. The comet will be detectable for days when it approaches our planet and then moves away on its way out of the solar system, according to

During the comet’s approach to Earth, it will be 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) from our planet, which is about 28% of the distance between Earth and the sun.

According to In-the-Sky, the comet will be located above the horizon, and therefore it must be visible all night, as it will be present in the constellation Camelopardalis as it approaches Earth, which is a large area of ​​the sky, but it is dull and devoid of bright stars and is located near the North Pole. to earth.

NASA plans to observe the comet with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which could provide clues about the formation of the solar system. According to Thomas Prince, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, the comet can provide clues about the way the solar system was formed, as the comet formed during the early stages of the formation of the solar system, according to Reuters.

“We’ll be looking for signatures of certain molecules that we can’t get to from Earth, and because the James Webb telescope is so sensitive, we expect new discoveries,” said astronomer Stephanie Milam of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

NASA plans to observe the comet with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

When can a green comet be seen?

The comet will become visible around 6:49 PM EST (23:49 GMT) on Wednesday (February 1). It will reach its closest point in the sky above the Arctic horizon at around 9:46 PM EST (02:46 GMT). Then it will disappear into the dawn light around 5:57 AM EDT (1057 GMT) on February 2.

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Scientists estimate that the orbital period of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is 50,000 years according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), which means that the last time it came close to Earth or the Sun our planet was in the middle of the last ice age, or “epoch.” Glacier” and the Neanderthals were still sharing the planet with our first ancestors of the species Homo sapiens.

The green comet was identified for the first time in March 2022. At first, astronomers suspected it to be an asteroid, but soon the comet began to brighten as it approached the Sun, a behavior exhibited by comets when they approach the Sun and are heated by the radiation they emit. The material on its surface turns from solid ice to gas in a process called sublimation, a process that led scientists to confirm that it was indeed a comet.

How can a comet be seen?

The movement of the comet can be viewed moment by moment through several sites that provide live broadcasting, including this site:

What is the comet?

Comets are what astronomers call “dirty snowballs.” They’re balls of ice, dust, and rock that usually descend from the icy material called the Oort Cloud at the outer edge of our solar system.

Comets consist of a solid nucleus of rocks, ice, and dust, covered by a thin layer of dust, gas, and ice that melts when these bodies approach the sun, releasing a stream of gas and dust emitted from its surface by solar radiation and plasma, and forming a cloudy tail that it drags behind it.

Comets move toward the inner solar system as different gravitational forces remove them from the Oort Cloud, becoming more visible the closer they get to the sun. Less than a dozen comets are discovered each year by observatories around the world.

Emad Hassan