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How to witness the Green Comet and Mars this coming weekend?

This week, the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will meet Mars in the sky, and here’s how you can view the celestial spectacle from the comfort of your own home.

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an astronomical survey undertaken by the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California, found the comet on March 2, 2022.

When To See Green Comet?

Comets are celestial bodies composed of icy gases, dust, and rock that circle the sun. These objects, which are sometimes referred to as cosmic snowballs, are bombarded with increasing levels of radiation as they approach our star, causing them to release gases and debris.

In the instance of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), this mechanism produces a green coma, a luminous environment surrounding the nucleus. There are also two enormous gas and dust tails.

On January 12 and February 1, 2023, respectively, the cosmic snowball came its closest approach to both the sun and Earth. It is currently hurtling away from Earth, possibly never to return.

By about February 11, the comet will traverse the plane of the solar system in which the planets’ orbits reside. The green comet will specifically sail between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

Due to the alignment of the two planets on this date, the comet that may have last visited the inner solar system some 50,000 years ago will be visible in the same region of the sky as Mars.

During this cosmic encounter, the comet and the red planet will be within one degree of each other in the sky. This indicates that the apparent distance between the two objects will be roughly similar to placing two full moons side by side.

Even while the comet and Mars will appear near Earth, they will be approximately 50 million miles apart at this time, according to astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP).

Masi stated that at the time of the encounter, the red planet will be approximately 100 times brighter than a green comet.

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Green Comet’s Live Broadcast

Green Comet-Mars-Space-Tech-Lifestyle-US News
This week, the green comet will meet Mars in the sky, and here’s how you can view the celestial spectacle from your home.

Masi said that it is unlikely that this will be possible by February 11. The comet will move further and further away from us, gradually getting fainter in the sky. Therefore, you will likely need binoculars, a telescope, and a stargazing app to observe it at this time.

Alternatively, the VTP will broadcast a live webcast of this cosmic gathering. This is a service offered by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Ceccano, Italy, that operates robotic, remotely operated telescopes and gives access to them.

The live feed is expected to begin on Saturday, February 11 at 2 p.m. ET or 11 a.m. PT.
As C/2022 E3 (ZTF) races out from the inner solar system, it is unclear what will transpire next. 

According to astronomers, it is feasible that the comet will never return. Even if this occurs, it is unlikely to occur for millions of years.

Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, told Newsweek, It’s not a simple scenario. It all depends on how much the C/2022 E3’s velocity will be altered by this last solar system encounter. 

Astronomers believe Jupiter’s gravity has already impacted the comet’s route on the way in, driving it into a far longer orbit. She stated This is where the million-plus-year estimate comes into play.

However, if its orbit is disrupted sufficiently by the gravity of the planets and the sun, the comet will go on a hyperbolic course that would propel it out of the solar system, never to return.

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