Live Video: the once-in-50-thousand-years astronomical event: the Green Comet, “C2022 E3 ZTF,” approaches earth

The space star can be seen with its best visibility in the Mexican capital this February 1 and 2

The expectation generated by the comet C2022 E3 ZTF, so-called by scientists of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has left a series of reactions worldwide since this unique sighting is only recorded every 50 thousand years.

Referred to by the public as the “Green Comet” due to its intense green glow caused by the melting of the ice in its nucleus as it approaches the sun, it will be seen at its fullest on February 1, when it is 42 million kilometers from Earth.

Among the usual reactions to any event, several Internet users shared a series of memes highlighting the little or no visibility of the passage of the green comet, as well as moments that complicated its transparency either by pollution, light cables, or simply because the star was not seen in any location.

It is worth mentioning that in Mexican territory, the Green Comet can be seen from January 30 until February 5.

To locate it in the Mexican sky, between 7:30 p.m. on January 31 and next Thursday, February 2, it should be observed towards the northeast since it will pass near the constellation Ursa Minor; that is, over the horizon, in a northerly direction. To find it, it is enough to identify the brightest star, the North Star.

At the beginning of February, the comet will cross the Camelopardalis, also known as the giraffe, while continuing its path until it reaches the constellation Auriga, which is visible above Orion.

The first sighting of the “Green Comet.”

Comet C2022 E3 ZTF was first seen through a Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) project telescope by NASA scientists. It was discovered on March 2, 2022, by astronomers Bryce Bolin and Frank Masci.

It was the third object identified that day and cataloged as a non-periodic comet (marked with the letter C) since its passage by the Earth takes about 50 thousand years. From these conditions, it got its name: C2022 E3 ZTF.

According to NASA, the comet comes from the Oort cloud at the solar system’s outer edge.

The researchers responsible for its discovery announced that at the beginning of November 2022, the comet’s orbit was approaching that of the Earth, while after calculating its path through the solar system, they revealed that the last time it crossed the planet Earth was at the end of the last ice age when Homo sapiens began to inhabit the globe.

07-01-2021 Comet 46P / Wirtanen made its closest approach to Earth on December 16, 2018. Due to the festive dates and brilliant green glow, the icy visitor was nicknamed the 'Christmas Comet'. NASA RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
07-01-2021 Comet 46P / Wirtanen’s closest approach to Earth was on December 16, 2018. Due to the festive dates and brilliant green glow, the icy visitor was nicknamed the ‘Christmas Comet.’ NASA RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY

Julieta Fierro Gossman, a researcher at the Institute of Astronomy of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), explained that the comet looks like a flabby little ball that moves through the Universe, unlike stars that are always in the same places forming constellations.

“They are discovered even though they are very far away because they move concerning the stars, and this time we will be able to see them with the naked eye in very dark places,” explained the scientific disseminator.

Julieta Fierro Gossman clarified that although as it approaches the Sun, the object will increase its brightness notably, due to its position, it will not be possible to observe the classic cauda or tail, so people should be attentive to see it as a bright ball.

According to the researcher of the Maximum House of Studies in Mexico, the best day to see it will be February 2, when it will be closer to the Earth. However, because the lights of the cities prevent them from seeing it, Fierro Gossman suggested looking for a place far away from them.

The best places to see the comet from Mexico

Although it will be visible to everyone, better visibility of the green comet depends on the atmospheric conditions and the tools that the person has, so these would be the best places in Mexico to see C/2022 E3 ZTF in a better way.

  • San Pedro Mártir National Park: this is located in the state of Baja, California, and has an ideal climate thanks to its location since it has the National Astronomical Observatory of the UNAM.
  • Xochicalco: the mountainous place in Morelos is far from light pollution, allowing a clearer visualization of the comet.
  • Pico de Orizaba National Park: in this place located in Puebla, the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica) is located.

The Green Comet’s trajectory

The so-called “Green Comet” can be seen in Mexican territory from January 30 until February 5.

It was initially seen by astronomers near the orbit of Jupiter in March 2022, from where it has been approaching day by day. Its closest point with the Earth will be next February 1, since it will be 42 million kilometers away, a quarter of the distance between the Earth and the Sun, or ten times the gap between the Earth and its moon.

Internet users reacted to the passage of the Green Comet

The unusual passage of comet C20222 E3 ZTF has generated great excitement among the inhabitants of Mexico, who, since the night of January 30, have been watching the night sky to try to see the also-called “Green Comet.”

In this way, through social networks, hundreds of Internet users have shared their experiences trying to see this astronomical phenomenon so that, among all the accumulation of opinions, humor was also present in the form of fun and always reliable memes.