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Did you miss the ‘green’ comet? New brighter comet likely to visit Earth in 2024, check details inside

DNA logo DNA 12-03-2023 (DNA Web Desk)
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Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), most often referred to as the green comet owing to its distinctive colour, passed through Earth's atmosphere on February 1. After a hiatus of 50,000 years, the comet made its way back to Earth and lit up the sky. Yet, a larger and, if early forecasts hold true, brighter comet than the green comet is on its approach to Earth.

In 2024, a comet named C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) may arrive in the night sky, and according to BBC's Sky at Night magazine, it may wind up being brighter than the green comet ever was. As comets are unpredictable cosmic objects, we can't say for sure that this will occur. Yet, if optimistic forecasts hold true, this might be the finest comet appearance in quite some time. said that on February 22, this year, the comet was spotted by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Late Alert System (ATLAS) in South Africa. Astronomers at first thought it was an asteroid, but then realised it was the same object found by China's Purple Mountain Observatory six weeks previously.

In addition to the Purple Mountain sightings, on December 22 of last year, the comet was also imaged by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. On February 28, COMET C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) was officially named by the Minor Planet Centre (MPC) of the International Astronomical Union.

At its brightest, the comet could reach an apparent magnitude of -1, according to a report in Universe Magazine. What this means is that the comet's brightness might rival that of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. The best time to see the star in the Northern Hemisphere, according to early estimates, is between October 12 and October 20.

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The comet is now located between Jupiter and Saturn, and on September 28, 2024, it will approach perihelion, the point in its orbit when it comes closest to the Sun. At the moment, only the most advanced telescopes can make out its feeble glow.

By September 2024, however, it may be visible with the naked eye or even just binoculars.

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