A Rare Comet will Appear in the Night Sky for the First Time in 50,000 Years

  • The Comet Passes its Closest to Earth on February 2
  • C/2022 E3 (ZTF)
Photo: NASA

On March 2nd, 2022, astronomers identified the comet with Zwicky Transient Facility’s wide-field survey camera at Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California.

NASA reports: “A recently discovered comet is now passing through the inner solar system and should be visible with a telescope and likely with binoculars. The comet, which has a mouthful of a name – C/2022 E3 (ZTF) – was first sighted in March last year, when it was already inside the orbit of Jupiter. It makes its closest approach to the Sun on January 12, and then passes its closest to Earth on February 2.”

On December 19, the telescope captured an incredible image of comet 2022 E3’s luminous greenish coma, wide dust tail, and faint ion tail spanning a 2.5-degree field of view. As it navigates through the inner solar system, this impressive celestial body will reach its closest point to the Sun On January 12 and planet between February 1 and February 2.

Northern Hemisphere sky-watchers can view the comet in the morning sky with binoculars throughout most of January, while those living south will have a chance to witness it come February. This is according to NASA‘s announcement.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may become visible to the naked eye in dark skies by late January, depending on its luminosity.

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