Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) makes its closest pass to Earth, and you can watch it pass for free without even stepping outside.
On Wednesday, February 1, the comet will reach its closest point to Earth, known as perigee. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has not been this close for 50,000 years and according to some predictions it may never be seen again. It makes this week’s close pass all the more meaningful as this could be our last chance to witness this.”messenger from the borders of our solar system.
While many skywatchers will brave the cold January nights this week to catch a glimpse of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), not everyone will have the right conditions, equipment, or availability to see it. Fortunately, the Virtual Telescope Project hosts a free online live stream of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) at perigee courtesy of project website or Youtube channel. The live broadcast begins on Wednesday (February 1) from 11:00 p.m. EST (04:00 GMT on February 2).
Related: How to see the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) visible in the night sky now approaching Earth
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has already gone through its closest point to the sun and led to some amazing astrophotography around the world that shows the comet gorgeous green tail.
Be sure to try to see the comet while it remains in the night sky, as this may be our last look at C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before it leaves our solar system. Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, said in a statement that for comets similar to C/2022 E3 (ZTF) with highly elliptical orbits that tilt them to the outermost regions of the solar system, “there It’s very easy for them to have their orbit disrupted thus causing them to leave the solar system entirely.”
As it approaches on Wednesday (February 1), the comet will be in the constellation Camelopardalis in the northern sky. At perigee, the comet will be within 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) of Earth, or about 28% of the distance between the sun and Earth.
The comet is expected to remain visible throughout the month and may be visible to the naked eye as a faint green glow in dark sky locations, but will definitely be visible through binoculars or a telescope.
If you want to see comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) up close or try to take your own photos, be sure to check out our guides to the best telescopes and binoculars that can help you out. Be sure to also check out our guides on how to see and photograph comets, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to get started.
Remember: the stunning images of the comet with vivid colors and a clearly defined tail were taken with professional-level equipment and are usually stitched together from multiple long exposures. I caught the comet myself on Friday (January 27) with a pair of tripod-mounted 25x magnification binoculars, and it appeared as a small hazy green speck just above Ursa Major. Still, any sight of one of these distant messengers is worth it, whether online or in the night sky.
Clear skies and happy comet hunting!
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