Comet C2023 Will Fly Near Earth

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According to Cambridge, Mass. There is a very bright and newly-discovered comet headed right past us in the next year to come. It will be visible to the naked eye. And, even those in larger suburban areas will be able to see it. This event is something that occurs once every 2 years. An astronomer by the name of Peter Veres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics says that C2023 A3 could be a comet of a decade.

How Close Will This Comet C2023 Come To Earth?

If you are a worry wart like me, you don’t have to worry about this comet crashing into the Earth. Peter Veres said that it “is no threat”. They have been tracking the orbit of the comet. It gets better as more and more astrometric observations come in.

It will be at an astonishing 70 million kilometers or 43.5 million miles at its closest to earth on Oct. 12, 2024. Its speed is 15.7 km/s or 35,120 mph and increasing. When it reaches the closest point to the sun the speed of the comet will reach “67km/s or 149,900 mph” Veres says. He states that comets on orbits like this are extremely fast. Especially when compared to planets and asteroids that are more circular or slightly elliptical shapes.

Where Is The Comet Of The Decade Right Now?

Right now the comet is located right between Jupiter and Saturn. The visibility is very faint and can only be seen with a large telescope. Right now only the nebulous envelope surrounding the nucleus of the comet is visible. As it moves closer to the sun, the sublimation of ice will rise more dust from the surface of the comet. “It will be the closest to the Sun later in September 2024, then two weeks later, it will reach its closest point to the Earth”

Veres says that “We don’t know for sure if it would survive its close approach to the sun” and that this could be “disappointing or surprising — if its cometary activity becomes hyperactive”.

When Was The Comet C2023 First Seen?

At first, this comet was an unknown object to MPC on January 9th on its Near-Earth Object Confirmation page. The first observations came from China at the Purple Moutain Observatory. Veres goes on to say that “nobody else was able to observe the object the following nights”. So, it was cut from the confirmation page. On January 22nd, about 2 weeks later, a NASA-funded ATLAS South Africa telescope spotted the same object. It was then again posted to the NEOCP, however, they were not aware that it belonged to the PMO.

Veres continued to say that “there were a lot of follow-ups” on the unknown object by many telescopes which allowed MPC to catch its orbit. “The orbit was parabolic and highly inclined to the ecliptic,” said Veres. This means that all the evidence gathered confirmed that it was indeed a comet.

Who Got to Name the Comet?

The name of the comet was eventually decided by the International Astronomical Union. Who eventually gave the credit where credit was due to the Purple Mountain and ATLAS. So, the orbit and name were announced by the MPC and called C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS).

How Old Is the Comet C2023?

The coolest fact about this comet is that is created 4.5 million years ago. And, according to Veres, “this could be the comet’s first visit to the inner solar system…after it was thrown into the abyss of the Oort cloud”.

Is This Comet C2023 Similar to the Recent ‘green comet”?

Yes! There is a similarity between this comet and the recent green comet (C/2022 E3 (ZTF)). The first sighting of this green comet was on January 12th at its closest point to the Sun. With the help of telescopes and binoculars, this comet was spotted on Earth by people.

The similarities between these comets are that they are “both from the Oort cloud, coming to the solar system from its largest distances on nearly parabolic and highly inclined orbits” says Veres. The difference is that this newer comet is larger than the other.

In conclusion, Veres says that “comets are unpredictable”. Which means they will continue to keep us updated. On their orbit, speed, etc. of the comet until it eventually passes Earth. So, be sure to look up in the sky next year to see this beautiful comet.

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