(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — Earthlings! It’s time to look up to the sky over the next week as a rare comet last seen over 5,000 decades ago is set to pass across Colorado skies.
The comet known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) or ‘green comet’ was last seen during the Stone Age over 50,000 years ago. A time period when Earth experienced an Ice Age and when Mastodons and saber-toothed cats roamed the planet.
But on Feb. 2, 2023, it’ll be close to Earth again for all in this decade to see.
NASA said the comet was first discovered in March of 2022 when it was inside the orbit of Jupiter. Astronomers said the ‘green comet’ has only gotten brighter with its approach to Earth.
“This comet isn’t expected to be quite the spectacle that Comet NEOWISE was back in 2020. But it’s still an awesome opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from the distant outer solar system,” NASA said.
Although it will be the closest to Earth in early February, astronomers said anyone in the Northern Hemisphere can start viewing the green glow this week, but you may need to plan ahead.
The comet is visible to the naked eye, but at 26 million miles away, the best way to see it, is through a telescope or binoculars.
Find more skywatching tips from NASA here.
‘Green Comet’ viewing tips:
- Stay away from city lights.
- Go on a cloudless day.
- Around dusk is the best time to look up while the moon is still dim.
- Use a telescope or binoculars for the best view.
- Try looking to the northwest starting Jan. 25th for the green glow.