Astronomers are excited about the upcoming appearance of the comet, which will be visible in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years.
NASA has announced that on March 2, astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility’s wide-field survey camera at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, discovered a comet that has not been seen in over 50,000 years.
The C/2022 E3 (ZTF) comet will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12. The Planetary Society has reported that the comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the solar system’s outer reaches, which is why it has taken such a long time to swing by Earth again. Astronomers are thrilled by the prospect of the comet’s upcoming appearance in the night sky.
Skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere can glimpse a bright comet in the northeastern horizon just before midnight on January 12. The comet, which has been steadily brightening as it approaches the sun, will make its closest pass of Earth between February 1 and February 2, around 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) away from us.
To spot the comet, observers should look near the bright star Polaris, also known as the North Star. It will be visible earlier in the evening and through binoculars in the morning sky for those in the Northern Hemisphere during most of January, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere in early February. This opportunity should not be missed, as NASA reports it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A newly discovered comet, C/2022 E3 (ZTF), may become visible to the unaided eye in dark skies toward the end of January. Distinguishable from stars by its streaking tails of dust and energized particles, as well as a glowing green coma, the comet has been observed through telescopes. The coma is an envelope made of gas, which forms around the comet as it passes close to the sun, causing its ice to sublimate.