Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Comet?

Just in time for St. Patrick's day, ah well, not really... but close enough, a green comet will make a close approach to earth. You may be able to see it on Internet sites, unfortunately for us it will only be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

For you Comet Lovers here's the info:
This "Green Comet", will fly by on March 21st. Its officially known as "Comet 252P/Linear and according to Spaceweather.com, it will be the 5th closest comet fly-by on record. It will be a mere 3.3 million miles away as it nears the earth, thus a true delight for backyard astronomers. As it gets closer, it should get brighter and brighter. Plus, there is a bonus, its being accompanied by a smaller comet known as "P/2016BA14". This one will be even closer to earth passing by on the following day.(it will not be as bright)



But why is this comet green?
The comet is green because the nucleus, or the center, is spewing out diatomic carbon, C2, vapor (A gas which glows green in the near-vacuum of space).The green will turn brighter in the nights ahead as 252P/LINEAR approaches Earth. 

According to the International Meteor Organization,  there is a chance that the fly by could cause a minor meteor shower. This could happen on March 28–30.