Newly-detected a green comet, is about to flyby near our Pale Blue Dot (Earth) – and it may even be visible to the naked eye.
Releasing their January 2023 skywatching predictions, NASA and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced that between January 12 and February 2, a green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will first approach the Sun and then return will revolve around the earth.
In the Northern Hemisphere, JPL continues, skywatchers will be able to spot that comet in the morning sky in late January. Meanwhile, observers living in the Southern Hemisphere can see this rare celestial event as early as February.
Space.com pinpoints the best viewing date even more precisely; January 21 during new moon, when the sky will be extra dark without the moon's light.
According to the JPL, "comets are notoriously unpredictable" but if it maintains its current trend in brightness, it will be easy to spot with binoculars, and it should be possible to see with the unaided eye under dark skies.
Discovered in March 2022, this rare green comet was observed within the orbit of Jupiter using a wide-field survey camera at Caltech's Zwicky Transient Facility.
Since then, it has gotten even closer to the Sun, and as NASA noted in a post about this comet, it will reach its perigee, or closest point to us on Earth, on February 1.
As Space.com notes, JPL data suggests that the last time this gorgeous green goblin came to close to Earth was about 50,000 years ago, It's mean that the last humans ever to see it were Ice Age-era Neanderthals.
Depending on light pollution and weather, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) can be difficult to see as it makes its way toward and away from Earth — but rest assured, skywatchers with expensive telephoto lenses or access to institutional telescopes can get incredible results.