A Green Comet Will Be Visible From Earth For The First Time In 50,000 Years

The appearance of a comet in the sky is always an interesting event. Sometimes, they are easy to spot and at other times, people tend to miss them but it is still something that can get you out of your house and looking skyward.

This includes a comet that was recently discovered. It may not stick around very long, but it is worth going out and checking on because it won’t be back for another 50,000 years.

Photo: Flickr/makelessnoise Licnese: CC BY 2.0

According to NASA, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is making a trip around the sun and will eventually be within 26 million miles of our planet. On January 12, it will be closest to the sun and on February 1, it will be as close to the earth as it is going to get.

If you go out in a dark sky, you may be able to spot the comet as a glowing green light. You won’t be able to see it with your naked eye, however, you will have to use binoculars or even better, a telescope.

It should be relatively easy to spot once you have its location pinned down among the stars. It will be a green glowing light with a dust trail behind it.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Raysastrophotograhy License: CC BY-SA 4.0

EarthSky helps us to locate the comet, saying that you should go outside just before midnight on January 12 and continue watching until the early morning hours. It will be low on the northeast horizon at the time.

During that time, January 12, the comet will be at perihelion. This is the time when it is closest to the sun in its orbit.

As it gets closer to the sun, the ice will begin to turn into gas, creating the glowing orb that will be noticeable in the sky. That is what gives comets a unique appearance.

Photo: Lucas Pezeta

If you happen to miss it on January 12, you might want to try again in the third week of January. Depending on where you are in the world and how much light pollution exists, you may not be able to see it in person.

If you do want to see the comet, you can always look at the live stream from the Virtual Telescope Project. It is sure to be the best way to view it, other than looking upward.

It’s hard to believe that this comment only orbits the sun every 50,000 years, according to ABC 10 News. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event because it will be 50 millennia before it returns again.

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