Eyes on the skies, folks!
A rare green comet will shoot across Irish skies over the next seven days for the first time in over 50,000 years.
Known as Comet C/2022 E3 or ZTF, it will be visible to the naked eye and is expected to be at its brightest on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd February, provided it’s not too cloudy.
The comet was only first discovered back in March 2022 from the Zwicky Transient Facility in California, which is where it got the name ZTF. This particular green comet came from the Oort cloud at the very edge of the solar system, and is expected to come 43 million kilometres from earth – which is about one third of the distance between Earth and the sun.
Founder of Astronomy Ireland, David Moore spoke to The Journal about this rare phenomenon, mentioning:
“I’ve seen it in binoculars, some keen sighted people in the countryside say they can faintly see it with the naked eye already, which makes it one of the brightest comets of the last few years.”
The comet will best be seen on a clear night, however that’s not the only obstacle. City lights can pollute the sky too, so it’s best seen in rural and suburban areas, and make sure to stay away from street lights in order to get a better view.
The comet will be visible from dusk to dawn and will be located near the north star. Binoculars and telescopes will also increase your chances of catching a glimpse of comet ZTF.