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A Comet that has not seen for 50,000 Years Appears This Month — How To See It

Supposedly not the most spectacular or even the brightest celestial event in January's night sky, but if conditions are favorable, stargazers will get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a previously unknown comet as it travels past Earth. Said to be seen once during Neanderthal's era, this comet will pass by our beloved planet after 50,000 years.

Keep an eye out for a bright green comet known as C/2022 E3. Incredibly after C/2022 E3 comes within 28 million miles of Earth on February 2, its orbit will take it out into deep space and will never be seen from Earth again.

Comet

All About C/2022 E3

The "size of a small town," a comet essentially is a snowball made of frozen gasses with embedded rock and dust particles, NASA explains. As a comet nears the sun, it warms up and its ice begins to change from solid to gas.

This will produce what's known as a "coma," which is the fuzzy-shaped cloud surrounding the ball of ice. The coma, can be thousands of miles in diameter in size. That radiation pressure that has formed or the distinctive solar wind then "blows" the expanding coma out to form the long tail which gives comets their shape.

Astronomers Frank Masci and Bryce Bolin discovered the comet using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California on March 2, 2022, NASA explains.

Astronomers are known to divide months in half and days 1 to 15 and days 16 to month's end, known as "half months" to name newly discovered solar system bodies like comets and asteroids Hence, half months are then labeled as the successive letters of the alphabet.

Early March is designated as "E." As the comet was the third object discovered in the fifth half-month of 2022, it received the designation Comet 2022 E3, or C/2022 E3. That explains its weird name.

Comet

How To See C/2022 E3

If conditions are favorable, you'll definitely be able to see the comet with a telescope or binoculars, and possibly even with the unaided eye, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

According to astronomy site EarthSky, At about 1 a.m. CST on January 22, C/2022 E3 was below the Big Dipper for observers facing northeast.

On January 28, at 10 p.m. CST, if you face towards the north, the comet will appear to the right of the Polaris, known as the North Star. Polaris is located at the end of the Little Dipper's "handle."

On January 31, if you look to the north just after sunset, C/2022 E3 2023 will be visible again at the right of Polaris.

Finally, a last chance to locate the comet is to first look for Mars on February 10. Because, this blaring green ball will be very close to Mars, which will be bright and appear an orangish-red color, Space.com explains. You will have to check the local time and position of mars on Feb 10.

Do not miss the only chance to see its rare celestial wonder!

    Read more about: earth
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