Once-In-A-Lifetime E3 Comet, Which Has Nothing To Do With Gaming, Is Coming Close To Earth Soon
This is not viral marketing for the return of E3 this summer.
A comet that was only just discovered in the past year will approach Earth where it may be possible to see with the naked eye as soon as later this month. And you might want to go out and look for it, as experts say the comet isn't likely to return to Earth's orbit for at least another 50,000 years.
The comet, C/2022 E3 (ZTF), was first seen in March 2022 via a huge telescope when it passed through Jupiter's orbit. The comet is referred to as the E3 Comet--though it has nothing to do with the big game show E3--and it comes from the Oort Cloud of the Earth's solar system. NASA says this place is "like a big, thick-walled bubble made of icy pieces of space debris."
The E3 comet, which experts believes dates back to 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system formed, is coming as close to Earth as it ever will on February 2. It has a bright green coma and a tail. Photographer Dan Bartlett took a photo of it using a big lens in December from June Lake, California (at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet). You can see Bartlett's images on Astrobin.
CBS News reports that NASA believes the E3 comet will be easy for anyone to spot with binoculars, or with the naked eye in less populated areas with better visibility and less light pollution. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the best time to look for the E3 comet is in the morning in January as the comet races west. People in the southern hemisphere will have a better shot at seeing it in early February.
The E3 comet has already travelled billions of miles to get to Earth from the edges of our solar system, and when it gets close, it will be traveling at more than 128,000 miles-per-hour. If you're at all interested in catching a glimpse, be sure to try, as Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Jessica Lee told Newsweek that the comet may not return for at least another 50,000 years.
Watch the NASA video above to learn more about the E3 Comet and how you can spot it in the sky. As mentioned, this comet has nothing to do with the big-time summer gaming show E3, but it is pretty curious that it just happens to show up the same year that E3 makes its big comeback. Makes you think...
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