On Monday, July 2nd, the skies turned greenish as the green comet PANSTARRS burst over the Earth. The amateur astronomer Michael Jager observed the comet in the night sky and was lucky enough to capture the moment when PANSTARRS outburst and turned the night sky green (see the image at the beginning of the article).
Michael Jager immortalized the green comet PANSTARRS on Monday, July 2nd, in late night when the atmospheric conditions were ideal for the amateur astronomer’s telescope to observe the space object in its path near the Earth. Nonetheless, the timing was perfect because Jager captured the exact moment when the comet outburst and jetted its greenish atmosphere all over in its surroundings. During this eruption, the comet’s magnitude increased from +12 to +9 which is a significant increase in brightness and visibility.
“The gas cloud around the comet’s nucleus is about four arcminutes wide,” said Michael Jager, who also explained what that means. Accordingly, the comet’s atmosphere spread out over 260,000 kilometers.
Green comet PANSTARRS will be visible again in August
The first observations of the comet PANSTARRS were conducted in September 2017, and since then the astronomers keep track on the comet and measure its trajectory.
Accordingly, on August 15th and 16th, green comet PANSTARRS will enter Mercury’s orbit and will be visible again. Afterward, the comet will head towards the Sun which will eventually propel this space object back, beyond our Solar System.
As far as the scientists know, this comet, like many others, originates from the Oort cloud, the giant ‘home’ of icy comets, located beyond Pluto at about 300 billion kilometers away from the Sun.
“While the planets of our solar system orbit in a flat plane, the Oort Cloud is believed to be a giant spherical shell surrounding the Sun, planets, and Kuiper Belt Objects. It is like a big, thick bubble around our solar system. The Oort Cloud’s icy bodies can be as large as mountains, and sometimes larger,” stated NASA.
As for the green comet PANSTARRS, the US space agency said that it follows a unique orbit as it’s coming from the above of the Solar System plane.