The comet is nearing its closest point to earth, here is the best time to see it.

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Comet 2022 E3 ZTF

According to EarthSky.org Comet 2022 E3 ZTF or the "green comet" is passing by earth for the first time in about 50,000 years.  In fact, this comet last passed the sun neanderthals were walking on planet earth.  So this is quite the astronomical event, and definitely one you'll want to see!

 

Photo by Justin W on Unsplash
Photo by Justin W on Unsplash
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Now when I say "near" I mean near, in terms of space.  Because at its closest point to earth, the green comet will be about 27 million miles away.  That's about 100 times the distance to the moon. But this is close enough that if night sky conditions are right, you should be able to see this comet with the naked eye and not need the aid of binoculars or a telescope!

 

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash
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When is the Best Time to See the Green Comet?

According to EarthSky.org, it seems like the comet will be at its closest point to earth around February 3rd.  They say the best time to see the comet with the naked eye will be the first week of February, but anytime at the end of January look up at the night sky and see if you can spot the fuzzy bright green comet!

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@shlomo99?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Shlomo Shalev</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/9V2XzJNrP0o?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Shlomo Shalev on Unsplash
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According to NASA, Comet ZTF was discovered in 2022 and after early February the comet should dim dramatically.  They say the green glow of the comet is due to glowing carbon gas.

Where to Look to See the Comet

If conditions are favorable, just after sunset look to the night sky and you should be able to see the green comet without having to use optical aid. Space.com says to look to the north for a faint greenish glow, that glow you'll see is the green comet.

Space.com explains:

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is currently making its way through the northern skies and should reach its brightest magnitude in early February, according to In-The-Sky.org(opens in new tab) as it approaches perigee on Feb. 1. To see the comet for yourself, look to the north just after sunset and look for a faint greenish glow. Under the right dark sky conditions, the comet could be visible to the unaided eye, but binoculars will certainly make the job easier.

So head outside this week and look up, see if you can spot the green comet!

Must See: Astrophotography Taken Over Southern Illinois Zinnia Field

See beautiful images of the night sky over a zinnia field located in Redelman Orchards located in Southern Illinois. The spectacular photos were captured by Illinois photographers Grant Twiss and John O'Connell.

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