Sunday, October 1, 2023

A star party to remember: The Green Comet


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Featured Photo by Sydney Schettler

Story by Sydney Schettler

Middle Tennessee s Astronomy Club hosted a Star Party to observe the Green Comet last night.

Higgins and Quinn gearing up to view the Green Comet, along with other planetary objects. (Photo by Sydney Schettler).

The club’s president, Quinn Wilson, said that the club hosts star parties every month for people to come out and look at different objects in the sky.

“For students, the Astronomy Club holds a meeting every first Friday of the month from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Wiser-Patten Science Hall. Then, thirty minutes after, the professors of the Physics and Astronomy department hold their star parties. It’s open to the public. It’s totally free. Anyone can come. The professers do a talk on anything they want to do; This month it was on the Green Comet,” Wilson said.

MTSU professor Dr. Higgins gave a lecture about comets including Halley’s Comet, Comet Hale-Bopp, Comet McNaught and the Green Comet before the star party began. He said that “c/2022 e3”, the Green Comet, was a long period comet because it came from the Oort Cloud. He informed that if it continued on its current course it would have around a 53,000-year orbit.

“Dr. Higgins mentioned that the period is a 50,000 plus or minus years which is insane. It’s once in a lifetime. Even though he mentioned that could change it’s still crazy to think that I am part of a generation that may be one of the first and only able to see the comet,” Wilson said.

A capture of the Green Comet. (Photo by Sydney Schettler).

Higgins said that pictures of the comet do an “injustice” because what can be seen in pictures is not comprable to what is witnessed by observing through a telescope.

“Cameras do a better job than your eyes can do,” he added.

The club set up three telescopes outside of the observatory for people to observe Mars, the moon and the Green Comet. Not only students had the opporitunity to view the comet. Community members and their children came to witness the likely once in a lifetime experience.

Higgins said that the comet will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere for two more weeks before becoming too dim to see.

Sydney Schettler is a Lifestyles Reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

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

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