May 25, 2024

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 13 February 2023: Green Comet ZTF flies past Mars

3 min read


Even though comets usually make shut flybys, the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is especially distinctive as it has a period of time of all over 50,000 decades. That suggests the very last time it flew past Earth carefully, it was witnessed by Neanderthals through the Higher Paleolithic interval on Earth just about 50000 many years back. Comet ZTF not too long ago manufactured its excursion to Earth and came closest to the planet on February 1, right after which it went on its journey once more. A pair of times in the past, the comet arrived across another nearby comet called Comet C/2022 U2 (ATLAS) in close proximity to the constellation Auriga. Now, Comet ZTF has been captured passing Mars.

NASA’s Astronomy Image of the Working day is a picturesque picture of Comet ZTF as it swept earlier Mars on February 10 and 11. Although it was not noticeable visually, its photo was captured by astronomers as it appeared as a lengthy faint item speeding absent from the Sunshine. Its dust tail and ion tail were captured in direction of the base-correct and the top rated of the graphic respectively. The image was captured by Donato Lioce, an Italian astrophotographer primarily based in France, from Matterhorn, a mountain in the Italian Alps.

NASA’s description of the photo

No, Comet ZTF is not likely to hit Mars. Nicknamed the Inexperienced Comet for its vivid green coma, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) did, nonetheless, pass pretty much in entrance of the significantly-extra distant earth a couple times in the past, extremely near in time to when the showcased photograph was taken. The two sky icons had been here captured behind a well-known Earth icon — the Matterhorn, a mountain in the Italian Alps with a picturesque peak. Both the foreground and background photos were being taken on the same evening by the exact digicam and from the very same locale.

The comet’s white dust tail is visible to the proper of the green coma, when the gentle blue ion tail trails to the prime of the graphic. Orange Mars is properly in entrance of the numerous history stars as very well as the dark nebula Barnard 22 to its reduced right. Though Mars stays noticeable in the night sky for the upcoming couple of months, Comet ZTF has currently started to fade as it returns to the outer Solar Method.


Supply hyperlink Today, the world was amazed by a rare cosmic event as NASA astronomers released an image of a green comet flying past the red planet Mars.

The image was taken from the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on February 13th, 2023 and shows the comet, designated ZTF-Bacchus-2, in motion from the left side of the frame of the iconic red planet.

The greenish color of the comet is rare, and scientists have estimated that only a few green comets come close to Earth every thousand years. Comet ZTF-Bacchus-2 was first discovered in November 2019.

Astronomers believe that comets, like ZTF-Bacchus-2, are formed in the Kuiper Belt, a reservoir of icy bodies that orbit beyond the orbit of Neptune, and which can easily be perturbed by gravitational forces in the outer Solar System.

In early February 2023, the comet was observed to pass at a distance of 1,215,000 kilometers (754,000 miles) from the surface of Mars.

The image of the comet and Mars was taken using the Hubble Space Telescope, the world’s premiere space observatory. Hubble, which was launched in 1990, is often to credit for the stunning images we see of the universe each day.

The voyage of the comet, along with its rare green color, offers us an opportunity to observe nature in its rawest and most unpredictable form – a reminder of the vastness and beauty of our universe.