Grab a lawn chair and your telescope/binoculars this weekend, a once in an Age event is making its closest approach to Earth! The spectacularly green comet, dubbed Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), is passing within 28 million miles of Earth – about 118 times further than the distance to the Moon. The last earthlings to see the comet were early Homo sapiens or Neanderthals during the Upper Paleolithic Period or Old Stone Age roughly 50,000 years ago!
Glowing emerald from its sunlit gasses, the comet may be saying farewell to our solar system. Discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) in San Diego, CA, the comet has a parabolic orbit, and is unlikely to ever return back to Earth. Fortunately, this deep-space visitor will be visible for nearly a month before it passes into the great unknown, giving us lots of time to admire it before it leaves.
The comet will be visible to the naked eye only in very dark skies, passing in between the big and small dipper. NASA recommends the early morning before dawn as the best viewing time. Check out the links below to learn more about how to catch a glimpse of this spectacular event!