Green comet to pass Earth for first time in 50,000 years, possibly visible to naked eye


If you start your 2023 off with a little stargazing, you may catch a once in one-thousand lifetimes event: the flyby of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF).

The comet, which has the appearance of a green glow, was only first discovered in Mar. 2022 by the Zwicky Transient Facility at the California Institute of Technology. Scientists have since determined its full orbit takes about 50,000 years placing its last Earth visit in the era of Neanderthals.

According to NASA, the comet will make its closest approach to the Sun on Jan. 12 and then pass closest to Earth at 26.4 million miles on Feb. 2. They said if it continues its current trend in brightness, it will be easy to spot with just binoculars and could become visible to the naked eye under dark skies.

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere can find the comet in the pre-dawn sky moving toward the northwest throughout January and into February.

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