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Didn’t Catch the Rare ‘Green Comet’ Wednesday? That Wasn’t Your Only Chance – NBC Chicago

Did you miss the “once-in-a-lifetime” green comet as it reached its closest point to Earth Wednesday?

Don’t worry. That wasn’t your only chance to catch the extremely rare sight.

The “green comet,” formally known as Comet C/2022 E3, will be visible in the night sky all week long – and then some.

The peak of the comet’s visibility was on Wednesday evening, however, when the comet was just over 25 million miles away from the planet, making it potentially visible to the naked eye in darker areas.

But for those who didn’t witness that, Chicago’s Adler Planetarium provided a guide for where the comet will appear in the sky through Feb. 8.

“Use this map as a reference for how to find the comet each night until it’s gone,” the planetarium tweeted.

While the comet could be visible without optical aid in a very clear, dark sky, scientists say that those looking to see the comet should look with binoculars or a telescope for a better view.

The comet will come through the orbits of Earth and Mars at a speed of approximately 128,500 miles per hour. Its nucleus is thought to be about a mile across, with its tails extending behind it by millions of miles.

You’ll have to act quickly to see it, as it will find its way back toward Mars by Feb. 10, and then slowly disappear from the night sky, likely not returning to our Solar System for millions of years.

The comet last passed Earth approximately 50,000 years ago according to Reuters, during an ice age when much of North America and Europe was covered by glaciers.

According to NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, gravitational tugs from the sun and the planets alter the ice ball’s path, leading to major course corrections over time.

The comet came from what’s known as the Oort Cloud, which is located well beyond Pluto. The haven for comets, which has existed since the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, is thought to stretch more than one-quarter of the way to the next-closest star to our solar system.

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