Rare, green comet to pass by Earth Wednesday

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) last passed Earth 50,000 years ago.
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This handout picture obtained from the NASA website shows the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) that was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility. Dan Bartlett/NASA/AFP via Getty Images

ABC NEWS—If you’re looking at the night skies Wednesday and make out a tiny green light in the sky, don’t panic, aliens haven’t landed.

A rare green comet that has been traveling through our solar system for the last month is expected to make its closest pass to Earth between Wednesday and Thursday, according to NASA and astronomers. During that time, the comet will be 26 million miles away from the planet, according to astronomers.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered last March when it was already inside the orbit of Jupiter. It is distinguishable by its green glow.

NASA scientists said the comet made its closest approach to the sun, or perihelion, on Jan. 12. The comet was first visible to stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere at the beginning of the month followed by the other half of the planet a few weeks later.

“The comet is now visible all night long from northern latitudes but will surely fade from easy observation during the next few weeks,” NASA wrote on its site Tuesday.

The last time the comet passed by Earth was 50,000 years ago, according to NASA.

The comet will be close to Mars roughly a week later, according to astronomy charts.

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