Green comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak is flying over Earth’s North Pole this week where sky watchers can find it all night long not far from the bowl of the Big Dipper. At closest approach on April 1st it will be just 21 million km from Earth–an easy target for backyard telescopes and almost visible to the naked eye.
“On March 22nd I caught 41P ‘eating’ M108, the Surfboard Galaxy,” says Aoshima. “The comet’s green atmosphere appeared to swallow the distant spiral galaxy as it exited Ursa Major.” Why green? Like many comets, 41P has a verdant hue because its atmosphere contains diatomic carbon (C2)–a substance that glows green in the near vacuum of space. READ MORE