A comet moving across the sky has not been witnessed since the first Homo sapiens walked the Earth.
On February 1, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), often known as the “Green Comet,” will make its closest approach to Earth.
It also doesn’t appear very frequently, like other comets with extended orbital periods.
In reality, the ‘Green Comet’ last passed through the inner Solar System 50,000 years ago, about at the time language-using Stone Age people were believed to have first emerged.
Its orbit may prevent it from ever returning to the inner Solar System, thus this might be humanity’s only opportunity to see Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF).
Fortunately, there are still plenty of opportunities for skygazers to see what is being called the finest comet of 2023.
About comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), what do we know?
The comet was found in March 2022 by astronomers at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California, United States, who were undertaking a wide-field sky astronomical survey.
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Since then, it has significantly brightened and can now be seen in the morning sky from the northern hemisphere.
On January 12, it made its perihelion, or closest approach to the Sun; on February 1, it will make its perigee, or closest pass of Earth.
As it approached the Sun, it became brighter as the star’s radiation heated it up, forming a green coma, a hazy gas envelope made of heated substances like water, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
As a result of the solar wind’s interaction with the comet’s coma, it also features a long, weak ion tail and a short, wide dust tail.
The comet’s surface gases are being illuminated by the sun’s UV rays, which is the cause of the green glow.
The Oort Cloud, a region of the outer solar system believed to contain billions of comets, most of which are in stable orbits around the Sun, is where C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is believed to have originated.
100 light years away from Earth, a planet the size of Earth that may be habitable has been found.
Finding the “Green Comet”
It is now visible from the Northern Hemisphere in the pre-dawn sky with a telescope or binoculars.
On the other hand, when it approaches perigee at the beginning of February, it may be dimly visible with the naked eye. It will be visible from the Southern Hemisphere and around 42 million kilometers away from Earth at this time.
The appearance of comets, according to NASA, is famously uncertain.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) isn’t expected to develop a tail that can be seen without a telescope, according to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, although this might change.
The comet now appears in the sky as a fuzzy green ball.
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The comet will be “easily visible” using a telescope or binoculars from now until after its perigee, with the optimum visibility in the hours before dawn, according to the observatory.
Additionally, it will be visible beginning in the evening from the end of January until the beginning of February.
Using a star-gazing program, you can determine where in the sky the comet will emerge.
Make sure there won’t be too much cloud cover, make sure you have a view of the right portion of the sky from your vantage point, and dress up quite warm before venturing out to prevent disappointment while attempting to see it in the night sky, the observatory said.
To ensure that your eyes stay sensitive enough in the dark, it was suggested that you should let your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness and refrain from staring at mobile phones or other light gadgets.
(WSFA) MONTGOMERY, AL – Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is passing over the night sky just before dawn for the first time in 50,000 years.
The comet will continue to do so over the following several weeks, according to NASA.
Want to have the opportunity to see it? According to the astronomy website Earth Sky, it will come closest to earth on February 1 and 2. It will be a fantastic opportunity to see the frozen space rock because the comet will be visible at any time between now and then and just beyond.
Over the beginning of February, this green comet will sweep through the morning skies.
Binoculars or a telescope are the finest tools for seeing it because of its greenish tint. Even though comets’ brightness is often erratic, you might see this slightly green comet with your unaided eye. However, you must be in a very dark area, have good vision, and make sure the moonlight isn’t too strong. Look for it close to Polaris, a prominent star also known as the North Star.
According to NASA, observers in the Northern Hemisphere should be able to see the comet using binoculars in the morning sky during the majority of January, while those in the Southern Hemisphere should be able to see it in the early days of February.