Green comet approaching Earth after 50,000 years (and when it will be seen in Latin America)

According to NASA, the comet will be visible through binoculars to Northern Hemisphere observers throughout most of January and to Southern Hemisphere observers in early February.

People in the northern hemisphere will be able to see it with binoculars as a small green glow starting Thursday.

This means that in countries like Mexico it can be observed as early as this week, especially on January 21, when there will be a new moon. Meanwhile, in the rest of Latin America it will be necessary to wait for the beginning of February.

closest point

The green comet first discovered in March 2022, when it was in Jupiter’s orbit, will approach Earth until it reaches its closest point on February 2, according to US space agency experts.

That will be the best day to see it and they recommend looking for a place away from city lights to be able to contemplate it.

Also, according to science media, the best time to see it would be after midnight or early in the morning before sunrise.

“Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this continues its current bright trend, it will be easy to spot,” NASA said on its blog earlier this month.

“It is possible that it could become visible to the naked eye under dark skies,” they added.

The icy celestial body — called C/2022 E3 (ZTF), a “very long name,” according to NASA — made its closest approach to the Sun on Jan. 12, before making its closest approach to Earth.

By then the comet will be about 42 million kilometers from our planet, according to the Planetary Society.

How and where to see it

“This comet already looks like a soft ball advancing through the Universe, unlike stars that are always in the same places forming constellations,” explained Julieta, a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico ). Iron Gossman.

“They are also discovered when they are very far away because they move relative to the stars, and this time we can see them with the naked eye in very dark places,” he added.

The author of “La astronomia en México” clarified, although as it approaches the Sun the object will significantly increase its brightness, due to its position it will not be possible to observe the classic tail or tail, so people must be careful to see it like a shiny ball.

“The brightness of comets is notoriously unpredictable, but by February 2 it could be visible to the naked eye in dark night skies,” NASA scientists.

Dan Bartlett, a retired science professor and astrophotographer, captured images of the comet from his cabin near Yosemite National Park in California, calling skygazing a “humble” experience.

“I’m telling you – binoculars, dark place – you will see something. Bring your friends and they will see something once in their life,” Bartlett told the BBC.

Bartlett has two “amazing telescopes” on the porch of his June Lake home, and the clear nights and dark skies make for some great photos.

“Anytime there are lakes around you or oceans, you get a softer air current. A softer air current means the stars don’t shine as much, so you get more detail,” she explains.

unique opportunity

To Northern Hemisphere observers without a telescope, the comet will appear as a “faint greenish speck in the sky,” while those with one will be able to see the comet’s spectacular visible tail, according to the Planetary Society.

Northern observers will be able to see a bright green glow in the morning sky as the comet moves northwest during January. Observers in the Southern Hemisphere will be able to see it in February, according to NASA.

The comet is not expected to be as “spectacular” as 2020 NEOWISE, the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere since 1997.

But it remains “an awesome opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from the distant solar system,” NASA added.

The comet takes about 50,000 years to orbit the Sun, so “the opportunity to see it comes only once in a lifetime,” according to the Planetary Society.

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