Green comet coming closer to Earth

It sounds like a kitchen cleanser or a comic-book superhero, but The Green Comet is for real.

And it's headed for Earth.

It's Comet Lulin, which will make its closest approach to our planet on Feb. 24. Right now the green, gaseous ball, big as Jupiter, is from our perspective going from the constellation of Libra toward Virgo, where it's to near the star Spica on Feb. 16, according to NASA's science news service.

The comet glows green because of the way sunlight shines through the gases spewing from it, cyanogen and diatomic carbon.

The comet at its closest approach will be 38 million miles from Earth. That's when stargazers under dark country skies will be able to see it near Saturn in the constellation Leo.

To see the green comet, get up about 3 a.m., get a telescope or a good pair of binoculars, and look about a third of the way up in the southern sky, NASA says.

Astronomers in Taiwan and China, working together, discovered the comet in July 2007.