It’s the ideal moment to witness the comet known as C/2022 E3, characterized by its brilliant green center and elongated, pale ion tail. For a while, the comet has been visible through telescopes and binoculars, but the most favorable opportunity to see it with the unaided eye is arriving on Wednesday, February 1st.
This could be the first time – or at least in thousands of years – that the comet has made its way across our sky.
The comet known as C/2022 E3 is making a rare appearance in the Earth’s sky, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see it with the naked eye. According to Jon Giorgini, a senior analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the last time the comet was seen in the sky could have been over 10,000 years ago.
Astronomers first detected the comet’s bright green nucleus and long ion tail in March 2022 at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. Since then, the comet has been moving closer to Earth, making it more visible in the sky.
The best time to catch a glimpse of the comet is between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, when it will be in its closest proximity to Earth. Don’t miss this unique chance to witness this celestial event.
The optimal viewing time for the green comet known as C/2022 E3 is between Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, when it will be at its closest point to Earth at 26.4 million miles away.
Comprised of frozen gases, rock, and dust, comets become more remarkable as they approach the sun and heat up, producing a glowing core and a tail of gases and dust.
According to NASA’s Preston Dyches, the brightness of comets can be inconsistent, but the current behavior of C/2022 E3 is encouraging. It may be visible to the naked eye under clear, dark skies, and can be viewed with greater clarity through binoculars or telescopes. If missed on Feb. 1, the comet will still be visible for the rest of the month.
Those in the Northern Hemisphere can expect to see the comet’s soft light in the dawn sky as it moves toward the northwest, according to Preston Dyches. Southern Hemisphere viewers will likely catch a glimpse in early February.
The future of the comet is uncertain after its brief stay in Earth’s sky.
C/2022 E3 still has much to be learned by scientists, as they have only recently started to follow its path, says Jon Giorgini.
It may acquire enough energy to escape our solar system or it might stay in its elliptical orbit for another trip around the sun.
The comet with the snappy name: Comet ZTF C/2022 E3! Around 2 hrs condensed to 7 secs, taken late last night, 1/30/2023, amid plenty of neighborhood light pollution.#CometZTF #comet #eastbay pic.twitter.com/ZuQMlYEVwu
— Lyndie (@lyndie_chiou) January 31, 2023