New comet is approaching: how and when to see the spectacular green trail

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From now on, Comet Nishimura, discovered on August 12 by an amateur astronomer, can be seen from Earth, although the best day to appreciate all its splendor will be during sunset on Sunday, August 17, after which It will pass by and will not return for 434 years.

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The comet, which we technically know as C/2023 P1 and which was named Nishimura, in honor of the amateur astronomer who discovered it (the Japanese Hideo Nishimura), is located about 125 million kilometers away and continues to approach the Sun, therefore, at Throughout this week, its brightness will progressively grow.

According to calculations by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on Sunday, September 17, Nishimura will be only 34 million kilometers from the Sun. That day it will be at its perihelion, when it will reach its minimum distance from the Sun.

The hyperbolic trajectory of the comet and the evaporation of its volatile parts leaves in its wake a green light that can be perceived with better clarity during the days September 12 and 17, when it will be closest to the Sun

How can you see the comet?

To see Comet Nishimura you have to up early. And the time indicated for observation is between 5 and 6 in the morning, since there has to be darkness.

Once the schedule is set, it is necessary to know the address. According to experts, you have to look to the east, near the horizon. You can see it much better with the help of binoculars.

To identify it, you have to know that it looks like a “diffuse nebulous ball”, as pointed out by Josep María Trigo, Spanish astronomer, astrophysicist and scientist from the CSIC and the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia. Furthermore, the comet has a tail facing away from the Sun: “This tail forms as the comet approaches the star,” according to the presenter. “The heat of the Sun causes the volatile parts of the comet, which is made up of gas, ice and dust, to evaporate,” he adds.

What is known about the green comet or Nishimura

Official reports indicate that in August 2023 they discovered one of the last comets in the galaxy, which was popularly called “green comet” due to the presence of diatomic carbon

However, it will be seen almost colorless or slightly pink through binoculars, since sunlight is reflected by the dust grains, which are smaller than talcum powder particles.

At first, it was officially called Nishimura C/2023 P1, after the person who discovered it: Hideo Nishimura. The Japanese man was able to capture it using his digital camera from the town of Hirao, in the Yamaguchi prefecture, at the western end of the island of Honshū, in Japan, while he was on his work. astrophotography. And although he captured the images and saved them on August 12, he had not noticed the existence of the comet and that is why he reported it a day later.

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The so-called green comet was found by Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura

From that moment on, it is known that the star advance towards Earth and it is increasingly perceived with greater brightness, although its maximum splendor will be when it reaches the closest position to the Sun.

The researcher from the Institute of Space Sciences of the Higher Center for Scientific Research of Spain and the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia, Josep Maria Trigo, is carrying out detailed monitoring of the comet together with the expert Josep M. Llenas of the Pujalt Observatory and with other telescopes from the Gualba and Montseny Observatory, in Spain. And he highlighted the merit that this comet has been discovered by an astronomy fan, because currently it is normally done by automated programs for tracking and discovering asteroids and comets.