Green comet to appear in sky for first time in 50,000 years

MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) – The comet known as C/2022 E3(ZTF) will make its closest visit to earth in 50,000 years.

It was discovered on March 22nd, 2022 at Cal Tech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego.

Usually comets are a white, but this comet has a green hue for a specific reason.

“This comet apparently has a lot of carbon. Carbon when it evaporates with the snow gets broken apart by the UV light and in the process of being broken apart. C2 comes off and it turns out Carbon 2 glows very nicely in the green. So, it is mostly the Carbon 2.” Minnesota State University Moorhead Professor of Physics and Astronomy Juan Cabanela said.

If you get a dark enough sky, the comet may be visible towards some well-known constellations.

“If you find the Big Dipper here on the right-hand side and you can follow the two pointer stars up toward Polaris. The comet itself should be above that line and it will keep moving further away out the top of this image in the next few days,” Cabanela said.

But if you’d like to check it out, it may be difficult to view with the naked eye.

“I mentioned a camera because I thought people may have a cell phone camera handy and if they have something they can mount it with to take pictures with their family, they could pull this off with a multi second exposure pointing at the right part of the sky. That may bring it out more easily than your eye will,” Cabanela said.

He adds the comet will still be visible for the next few weeks.