The last few weeks we have been able to witness some really amazing astronomical events. The blood full moon looked spectacular around the world, and also many may have seen the quite larger and redder Mars in the opposition of Mars. Also recently, the green-glowing comet, also known as the Incredible Hulk comet, made its closest approach to Earth last night, as Sky & Telescope reports.
The Incredible Hulk comet is also known as C/2017 S3 and consists of ice and rock. The comet is nicknamed after the famous Marvel character for its green glow, notes Live Science. The comet has likely never before gotten to the inner solar system before, the same media outlet reported.
If you watched the night sky in the last few weeks, the comet was likely visible as a small glowing dot in the sky and could be watched through binoculars in July, as per Sky & Telescope. It was also reported that the comet is green as a result of the explosion of diatomic carbon gas, which contributes to the minty green color.
The Incredible Hulk comet was initially spotted with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, back on September 23, 2017, it says in Aerith.net’s comet catalog. The Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) observatory operates from Haleakala, Hawaii and it observes moving objects in the sky.
The comet will be the closest to our host star, the Sun, on August 15, according to Sky & Telescope. Its traveling route will allow it to be at only 0.2 astronomical units from the solar system’s glowing furnace, which is only about 18.5 million miles. These units do seem astronomical, but in terms of space and time, it is much closer than Mercury, which is the closest planet to the sun and travels at 29 million miles from the host star.
Perseids this weekend
The comet was the closest to Earth last night, but unfortunately would not have been visible due to the fact that it is too close to the sun right now. If you haven’t been able to see the Incredible Hulk comet yet, don’t be disappointed. It may be visible again later in August after it swings around the Sun and comes back around again.
There will be a few more events to look forward to in the future – one in particular this weekend. The Perseid meteor shower is going to peak on Aug 11 and Aug. 12 and provide a spectacular show of up to 60 to 70 meteors on an hourly basis. The Perseids are considered one of the best meteor showers of the year, so better get away from the city this weekend and enjoy the show.