Green 'Incredible Hulk' Comet to Zip Past Earth This Week
- The best time to view the comet in the Northern Hemisphere will be Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Remnants of the comet will come within 70.4 million miles of Earth.
Remnants of a green comet nicknamed the "Incredible Hulk" will zip by Earth this week, offering stargazers a view of a dust cloud at least twice the size of Jupiter.
Discovered in September 2017, PanSTARRS C/2017 S3 reportedly broke up in late July as it approached the sun. The remaining dust cloud will make its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, coming within 70.4 million miles (113.4 million kilometers) of the planet, Sputnik News reports.
The comet's green glow, the result of cyanide and carbon molecules becoming ionized by the warmth of the sun, may increase as it makes its way closer to the sun, astronomers say.
The 161,000-mile-long gas cloud that originated from several eruptions of the comet in June and early July may cause electromagnetic disturbances in the Earth's atmosphere, Austrian amateur astronomer Michael Jäger told sott.net.
The comet, electrified by solar wind, was expected to be visible with the naked eye. But it broke apart from intense solar heat and is rapidly fading from view. Experts don't rule out another eruption in the coming days, which could make the comet brighter in the night sky.
The best time to view the comet in the Northern Hemisphere will be Tuesday and Wednesday. As the dust cloud approaches the sun, it will become less visible in the sky, astronomers say.
On Tuesday night, scattered showers and thunderstorms may hinder the view in portions of the East, Midwest and central Plains. The best areas for viewing will be from the northern Plains into much of the West, where partly cloudy to mostly clear skies are expected. However, views in some areas of the West may be impacted by smoke, says weather.com meteorologist Linda Lam.
On Wednesday night, areas from the East into the southern Plains and Southwest will see clouds, showers and thunderstorms, but clouds shouldn't impede viewing in the upper Midwest to the West Coast.
The only real chance for a view of the comet in the Southern Hemisphere will be just before dawn Aug. 15.
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