Green Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) buzzing on social media. Watch videos here
Discovered less than a year ago, this harmless green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) became visible a few days earlier in the northern night sky with binoculars and small telescopes
It was a special fest for astronomers and space enthusiasts who witnessed the passing of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) with the naked eye. On Wednesday in a unique event, the comet came its closest distance to Earth and was visible from mostly everywhere around the world, including India.
While plenty of comets have graced the sky over the past year, “this one seems probably a little bit bigger and therefore a little bit brighter and it’s coming a little bit closer to the Earth’s orbit," said NASA’s comet and asteroid-tracking guru, Paul Chodas.
Green from all the carbon in the gas cloud, or coma, surrounding the nucleus, this long-period comet was discovered last March by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility, a wide field camera at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory. That explains its official, cumbersome name: comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF).
Scientists are confident in their orbital calculations putting the comet's last swing through the solar system's planetary neighborhood at 50,000 years ago. But they don't know how close it came to Earth or whether it was even visible to the Neanderthals, said Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
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