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Rare green comet NASA: How to view it in Vancouver in 2023

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A rare comet will pass over Metro Vancouver for the first time in a whopping 50,000 years — or since Neanderthals walked the Earth.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first discovered in March 2022 by astronomers when it “was already inside the orbit of Jupiter,” according to NASA.

Marley Leacock, an astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, told Vancouver Is Awesome that scientists spotted the celestial object using the widefield camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in the Palomar Observatory in California.

Since it takes roughly 50,000 years for the comet to orbit around the sun, “and based on its orbital parameters, it has been classified as a hyperbolic comet,” she explained.

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This means that the comet most likely originated from the Oort cloud and that this might be the last time it appears in our solar system.

“By definition, a hyperbolic orbit means that the object will only enter the solar system once, so comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may leave our solar system entirely,” she clarified.

The comet also has a “gorgeously green” colour that may be visible to the naked eye, according to space.com.

Rare green comet NASA viewing tips for 2023 in Metro Vancouver

While Metro Vancouverites may be able to spot the comet with the naked eye, it is a good idea to bring binoculars with 40 to 50-mm apertures or a small telescope if you want to be able to make out detail, Leacock advised.

“If you spot it without a telescope or binoculars, it will most likely look like a faint smudge in the sky. Keep in mind that the moon is also up that night, which may impede some viewing as well. Try to keep your back to it.”

The “green comet” is expected to reach about a “magnitude 6 or brighter at the closest approach,” which is the dimmest the naked eye can see. The best bet for viewing is to go to a dark sky location outside of the city, Leacock explained.

The celestial body will make its closest approach on Feb. 1 in Metro Vancouver and will be visible all night. Since the sun will set around 5 p.m., it will be in the northern sky.

“The comet will be pretty close to the north celestial pole, so using Polaris as a marker and looking around that area is a good start,” she said. “At sunset, if you were to hold your fist outstretched and align the bottom of it with the horizon, the comet will be five of those high and to the right of Polaris.”

It will be highest in the sky between 9 and 10 p.m., where it will sit roughly two-ish ‘fists’ above Polaris.

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ASTEROID TO WHIP BY EARTH THURSDAY NIGHT WITH NO CHANCE OF HITTING OUR PLANET: NASA – Zoomer Radio

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It feels like a scene out of the movie Don’t Look Up when two low-level astronomers go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

NASA insists it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth.

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NASA said Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) above the southern tip of South America. That’s 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead.

The closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. EST.

Even if the space rock came a lot closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement. “In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Discovered Saturday, the asteroid known as 2023 BU is believed to be between 11 feet (3.5 meters) and 28 feet (8.5 meters) feet across. It was first spotted by the same amateur astronomer in Crimea, Gennady Borisov, who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019. Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

(This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, affected by the earth’s gravity, and the orbit of geosynchronous satellites, in green. On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, NASA revealed that this newly discovered asteroid, about the size of a truck, will zoom 2,200 miles above the southern tip of South America Thursday evening. Scientists say there is no risk of an impact. Even if it came a lot closer, scientists say it would burn up in the atmosphere, with only a few small pieces reaching the surface. NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The asteroid’s path drastically will be altered by Earth’s gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

(The Associated Press)

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An asteroid will whip by Earth tomorrow in one of closest approaches ever recorded

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An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest such encounters ever recorded.

NASA insists it will be a near miss with no chance of the asteroid hitting Earth.

The U.S. space agency said Wednesday that this newly discovered asteroid will zoom 3,600 kilometres above the southern tip of South America. That’s 10 times closer than the bevy of communication satellites circling overhead.

The closest approach will occur at 7:27 p.m. ET.

300x250x1

Even if the space rock came a lot closer, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere, with some of the bigger pieces possibly falling as meteorites.

NASA’s impact hazard assessment system, called Scout, quickly ruled out a strike, said its developer, Davide Farnocchia, an engineer at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“But despite the very few observations, it was nonetheless able to predict that the asteroid would make an extraordinarily close approach with Earth,” Farnocchia said in a statement.

“In fact, this is one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded.”

Asteroid spotted by amateur astronomer in Crimea

Discovered Saturday, the asteroid known as 2023 BU is believed to be 3.5 to 8.5 metres across.

It was first spotted by Gennady Borisov, the same amateur astronomer in Crimea who discovered an interstellar comet in 2019.

Within a few days, dozens of observations were made by astronomers around the world, allowing them to refine the asteroid’s orbit.

The asteroid’s path will be drastically altered by Earth’s gravity once it zips by. Instead of circling the sun every 359 days, it will move into an oval orbit lasting 425 days, according to NASA.

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Nuclear-powered spaceships? U.S. plans for 2027

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WASHINGTON –

The United States plans to test a spacecraft engine powered by nuclear fission by 2027 as part of a long-term NASA effort to demonstrate more efficient methods of propelling astronauts to Mars in the future, the space agency’s chief said on Tuesday.

NASA will partner with the U.S. military’s research and development agency, DARPA, to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion engine and launch it to space “as soon as 2027,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said during a conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The U.S. space agency has studied for decades the concept of nuclear thermal propulsion, which introduces heat from a nuclear fission reactor to a hydrogen propellant in order to provide a thrust believed to be far more efficient than traditional chemical-based rocket engines.

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NASA officials view nuclear thermal propulsion as crucial for sending humans beyond the moon and deeper into space. A trip to Mars from Earth using the technology could take roughly four months instead of some nine months with a conventional, chemically powered engine, engineers say.

That would substantially reduce the time astronauts would be exposed to deep-space radiation and would also require fewer supplies, such as food and other cargo, during a trip to Mars.

“If we have swifter trips for humans, they are safer trips,” NASA deputy administrator and former astronaut Pam Melroy said Tuesday.

The planned 2027 demonstration, part of an existing DARPA research program that NASA is now joining, could also inform the ambitions of the U.S. Space Force, which has envisioned deploying nuclear reactor-powered spacecraft capable of moving other satellites orbiting near the moon, DARPA and NASA officials said.

DARPA in 2021 awarded funds to General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin to study designs of nuclear reactors and spacecraft. By around March, the agency will pick a company to build the nuclear spacecraft for the 2027 demonstration, the program’s manager Tabitha Dodson said in an interview.

The joint NASA-DARPA effort’s budget is US$110 million for fiscal year 2023 and is expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars more through 2027.

Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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