Comet Visits Earth For the First Time Since Cavemen This Month
The last time this comet was seen, the Neanderthals were alive. Try making sense of that logic.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) Will Be Visible January and February
If you like getting lost in the stars, then the beginning of 2023 is the time for you. The comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is said to be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye as it passes the sun and Earth.
IGN says that the comet will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12th, then be closest to Earth the first two days of February. This would make it the closest it has been to our planet in over 50,000 years.
Space.com says if the comet continues to brighten, as it has, it could be visible in the dark skies with the naked eye. Even if the comet does fade, it should still be visible with binoculars or a telescope for a number of days around its close approach.
The comet was discovered by the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in early March of 2022. The comet was initially believed to have been an asteroid, but then began to brighten in the way that comets do.
According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at NASA, the comet has a period of around 50,000 years. This means that prior to coming to within around 100 million miles of the sun on January 12th and 26 million miles of the Earth on February 2nd, the last time it came so close was during the Upper Paleolithic period on Earth.
The Best Times to See it in the Hudson Valley
NASA says that observers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to spot the comet in the morning sky. It will be moving in the direction of the northwest during January. They say that observers should look for the comet when the moon is dim in the sky, such as the new moon coming on January 21st, weather permitting.
For you constellation buffs out there, Starlust claims that the comet can be found in the Camelopardailis constellation during its close approach.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will become visible to viewers in the Southern Hemisphere in early February.