ALBAWABA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States said that a recently discovered comet will make its closest approach to Earth for the first time since the Stone Age of the Middle Paleolithic era 50,000 years ago.
The rare appearance of the "Green Comet" will be visible by telescope, and possibly with binoculars, but may also be seen with the naked eye in dark skies, NASA said in a statement.
A comet is streaking back our way after 50,000 years. NASA says the dirty snowball last visited during Neanderthal times. It will come within 26 million miles of Earth. https://t.co/XxqzIQMfCN— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) January 27, 2023
The dirty snowball "makes its closest approach to the Sun on Jan. 12, and then passes its closest to Earth on Feb. 2," the U.S. space agency said, noting that the comet will then speed away again, unlikely to return for millions of years.
"Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness, it'll be easy to spot with binoculars, and it's just possible it could become visible to the unaided eye under dark skies," it added.
The dirty snowball last visited during Neanderthal times, according to NASA. It will come within 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) of Earth Wednesday before speeding away again, unlikely to return for millions of years. https://t.co/heWxJasOrk— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) January 27, 2023
NASA said that skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere "will find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves swiftly toward the northwest during January." But it added that the comet will become visible in the Southern Hemisphere in early February.
"This comet isn't expected to be quite the spectacle that Comet NEOWISE was back in 2020," it said. "But it's still an awesome opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from the distant outer solar system."
A comet is streaking back our way after 50,000 years. The dirty snowball last visited during Neanderthal times, NASA said. It will come within 26 million miles of Earth Wednesday before speeding away again, https://t.co/mmFUhmdYTs— The Associated Press (@AP) January 27, 2023
EarthSky said the celestial object will be around 26 million miles to 27 million miles (42 million kilometers to 44 million kilometers) away. It noted that even during its closest approach, it will still be more than 100 times more than the moon's distance away from Earth