For the first time in 50,000 years, an incredibly rare green comet is set to become visible as it flies over Perth next month.
Known as Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the comet was initially discovered in March of 2022 by the Zwicky Transient Facility astronomical survey conducted at the Palomar Observatory in California.
Not visible since the Ice Age, the celestial body will reach its closest point to Earth on February 2, when it will be a mere 44 million kilometres away. Already visible to astronomers in the northern hemisphere, this will be our opportunity to catch a glimpse of the rare sight.
To see the comet, a telescope or binoculars are recommended – unfortunately for us, the night that the comet will be brightest (February 5) also coincides with a full moon. It’s also important to note that comets are notoriously unpredictable, so there’s no guarantees!
If you’re not yet adept at spotting astronomical events, February 11 is a great night to try and find the comet as it will appear close to Mars on that night – approximately 1.5 degrees away, or about the width of your pinky finger when it’s at arms length. (You’ll likely still need a telescope or binoculars though!)