How to see rare green comet that becomes visible for the first time in 50,000 years (Canva) (Image: Canva)
Stargazers around the world will face a special astronomical event this week, a rare green comet not seen since the Stone Age made its closest approach to Earth.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is already visible with binoculars and telescopes this month, but will also be visible to the naked eye as it approaches the planet.
For those who don’t usually have the expensive gear needed to see these spectacular sights, experts advise people to catch the comet early next month, as this will be when it’s at its brightest in the night sky.
When it reaches its closest point, about 28 million miles away, it will be visible across the northern and southern hemispheres.
Canva – Green comet to be seen for the first time since the Stone Age (Image: Canva)
NASA described the comet’s appearance as “a wonderful opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from the distant outer solar system.”
What do we know about the rare green comet not seen since the Stone Age?
Discovered on March 2, 2022, the green comet was spotted by the Zwicky Transient Facility in California and was in the Stone Age when astronomers calculated it would last be seen from Earth.
The comet is thought to originate from the outskirts of our solar system in the Oort Cloud.
NASA describes this cloud as “a collection of icy objects farther away than anything else in the solar system.”
This cloud is so far away that no spacecraft has yet discovered it, although some are slowly advancing but will unfortunately run out of power when they arrive.
How can we see the rare green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) at its closest approach in 50,000 years?
Until now, the comet was most visible before dawn, but as we enter February, the comet will become more visible from evening.
The comet is expected to be at its brightest between Wednesday and Thursday (February 1 and 2).
However, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich says you should check when the moon rises where you live to prevent the moon’s glare from ruining the show.
Met Office weather forecast for UK as rare green comet approaches closest
The Met Office’s long-term forecast forecasts mostly variable amounts of cloud and dry conditions across most of the UK from Saturday 28 January to Monday 6 February.
However, in regions such as the west, north and northwest, there may be showers with rain and winter rains. Even storms may occur in the far north, while much of the south will remain dry.