Green comet to be visible from Earth for 1st time in 50,000 years

Astronomy educator Charlie Eder, who works at the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, says this event is especially rare.

News 12 Staff

Feb 1, 2023, 3:25 AM

Updated 501 days ago

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A green comet will be visible from Earth for the first time in 50,000 years.
Astronomy educator Charlie Eder, who works at the Vanderbilt Planetarium in Centerport, says this event is especially rare.
"We believe that after it passes by the Earth, it's probably gonna be leaving our solar system, so this is really a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the comet fly by," Eder says.
The reason the comet takes so long to be seen from Earth is that it has an orbit around the sun that travels through the periphery of the solar system.
"I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with our solar system with the sun in the center and all the planets have almost circular orbits around it," Eder says. "But comets come from extremely far away and then they loop very closely to the sun and go very far back out."
Eder says the green color comes from the chemical composition of the comet.
He says experts believe it comes from carbon in ice and when that interacts with the sun's light and energy it causes the carbon to omit a green light.
Eder says anyone interested in getting a good look at the comet can come to the planetarium to see it within the next 10 days. If they want to see it with binoculars from their backyard their best bet would be Wednesday night into Thursday depending on how clear the sky is.


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