Green Comet Approaches Earth – How To Observe The Celestial Phenomenon

Update from Wednesday, January 18, 2023: Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) reached perihelion on January 12, its closest approach to the Sun. Since then he has been getting closer and closer to Earth. February 1st is closest to the earth, it has reached the so-called perigee. However, the comet can already be observed: it has been in the sky all night and is moving from north-west to north-east.

The best time to see the comet is in late January, when the moon’s light won’t interfere with observation. The next full moon will be in the sky on February 5, and its light could obscure the faint comet. Also, the comet is best seen in very dark surroundings and with the help of binoculars or a telescope.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is January and February 2023.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is January and February 2023. © AFP/NASA/Dan Bartlett

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is not enough for the first time. Already about 50,000 years ago he passed the earth and will return in about 50,000 years.

Green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) can be seen in sky

First report from Tuesday, January 3, 2023: Frankfurt – It has been known to experts and amateur astronomers for several months because it was discovered Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) as early as March 2022. Earth’s comet is slowing down and getting brighter, which is why it will also be of interest to laypeople with binoculars from around mid-January.

On January 12, 2023 the last year of comet from the born sun was announced. It is then still 166 million kilometers away from the sun. At this point in time, the comet is still more than 100 million kilometers away from Earth – but that should change in the coming days. This year, January 12, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is approaching Earth further and on February 1 it will reach its small distance from Earth (the so-called perigee).

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is January and February 2023.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is January and February 2023. © IMAGO/La Nacion/ZUMA Press/Tizoc Suarez

At this time there are still 42 million kilometers between the comet and the earth – it can be seen particularly well in the sky at this time. However, the green coloring that you see on the pictures should not be expected with the naked eye. The comet will appear more as a speck of mist.

What the hell is Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) going to be? Possibly seen with bare age

Do you how bright will the comet get? Predicting the brightness of comets is difficult because it is difficult to predict how they will behave as they approach the Sun. Many an expected comet has already broken up before it was clearly visible from Earth. In astronomy, the saying “comets are like cats: they have a tail and do what they want” applies.

So far, however, the comet has “kept within the brightness forecasts without major fluctuations,” explains the Austrian comet photographer Michael Jäger to the Frankfurter Rundschau by IPPEN.MEDIA. “This is a good sign that he will reach the 5th size class at the end of January, beginning of February,” the expert continued. “The comet is only visible under a dark mountain sky, but you need a small telescope from urban areas,” emphasizes Jäger.

Experts estimate that comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be clearly visible in binoculars from around mid-January to mid-February. Possibly it WILL also be visible to the naked eye from very dark places – but a show like that of comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise) in summer 2020 is unlikely to be expected. A comet expert Jäger assumes this: “This comet cannot be compared to the bright comets, such as Neowise 2020.”

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be in the sky all night

We know comet will be lucky with C/2022 E3 (ZTF): Then, when its most exciting time to watch, it will be high in the sky and visible all night. In early January, however, the comet disappears below the horizon at dusk. After midnight, he appears in the northeast. In the course of time Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) rises higher: From around mid-January it no longer sets, but is visible in the sky all night.

At the beginning of January, the comet is still close to the constellations of the Northern Crown, Hercules and Bears, pulling it a little more each night towards the constellation of the Little Bear (Little Dipper). In the second half of January it can be seen near the North Star for some time. By the time it reaches its closest point to Earth, the comet will be high in the sky and will not set. However, a bright disturbing factor also appears in the sky at this time: On February 5th there is a full moon and the moon lights up the sky.

The comet should be visible with binoculars by mid-February. The observation could also be particularly worthwhile on February 10th, 11th and 12th: Then comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in the constellation Taurus will pass very close to the planet Mars.

This is how you can observe Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in the night sky

  • Beginning of January: The comet sets in the evening and reappears in the northeast after midnight.
  • January 12: Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) reaches its closest position to the Sun and is still 166 million kilometers from the Sun.
  • From around mid-January: The comet is visible in the sky all night. It is located near North Star and is easily observable high in the sky.
  • February 1st: Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) reaches its closest position and is still 42 million kilometers away from Earth.
  • February 10, 11 and 12: The comet will pass close to the planet Mars in the constellation of Taurus.
  • Around mid-February: The comet is becoming increasingly difficult to see as it moves away from the Sun.

Comets are “dirty snowballs” of ice and dust

Comets are among the implemented objects in our solar system. They are made of dust and rock held together by ice. For this reason they are nicknamed “dirty snowballs”. Comets date from the time when the planets of the solar system formed, which is why they are also of particular interest for research.

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When a comet approaches the sun, it gets warmer in space and the ice that holds dust and rock together sublimates – it evaporates. Dust and rock are released – the strange comet tail is created. Comets leave dust trails on their orbit through space, which ensure regular streams of falling stars on Earth. (Tab)

, Green Comet Approaches Earth – How To Observe The Celestial Phenomenon

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