Monday, February 26, 2024

The Green Comet returns: What it is and where to see it 

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Featured Graphic by Stephanie Hall

Story by Stephanie Hall

After 50,000 years, the Green Comet is finally coming our way.  

The comet, discovered about a year ago, is visible now with some binoculars or a telescope. Comets themselves are bodies of ice and dust. They orbit the sun, going far and outer parts of space. The head has traces of a chemical called diatomic carbon, which causes it to glow green.  

However, early February will be the best night to see the comet with the naked eye, as this will be when it is closest to Earth.  

“It will be bright by virtue of its close Earth passage … which allows scientists to do more experiments and the public to be able to see a beautiful comet,” University of Hawaii astronomer Karen Meech said. 

Of course, it will look more like a smudge in the sky than any of the beautiful pictures you find online. However, to be able to see the comet with your own eyes, you will just need to look north right after sunset. The comet can best be seen by the naked eye in areas with no light pollution. Despite this, it would be good to have some binoculars. So, here are some ways to check out this once-in-a-lifetime comet.  

Murfreesboro has a lot of light pollution, especially downtown. Local parks, such as Stones River National Battlefield and McKnight Park have slightly less light pollution.

If you want to learn more about the Green Comet and stay on campus, you can go to the Star Party being held by Middle Tennessee State University Physics and Astronomy Department. Dr. Chuck Higgins will be the speaker, talking about the green comet. After the talk, Astronomy Club members will be setting up telescopes for a nighttime viewing to be able to view the night sky and look for the green comet. They will be meeting from 6:30 pm to 8:00 p.m. The lecture will be at the Wiser-Patton Science Hall, Room 102, and telescopes will be set up by the MTSU Observatory. For more information, see @mtsu.astroclub and @mtsuphysics_astro on Instagram.

While we may be True Blue, be sure to check out this Green Comet before it’s gone.

Stephanie Hall is the Assistant Lifestyles Editor for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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