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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 27 January 2023: Green Comet ZTF lights up the sky

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Comets are of interest to scientists because they are remnants of the early Solar System, and can tell us about the conditions and composition of the early Solar System.

When a comet approaches the Sun, the heat causes the ices in the comet to turn into a gas, which surrounds the nucleus of the comet in a bright coma.

The gas and dust in the coma form a bright tail that always points away from the Sun. The Earth will soon get to witness a historic moment.

An extremely rare comet named Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which last visited us when humanity still lived in caves, is going to pay us a visit.The comet has a period of around 50,000 years, meaning the last time it flew past Earth closely, it was witnessed by Neanderthals during the Upper Paleolithic period on Earth, although we're not sure they would've known much about it.

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