The last time a green comet was seen in the night sky was during the Stone Age, but it will shortly pass by Earth for the first time in 50 centuries.
Astronomers using the wide-field survey camera of the Zwicky Transient Facility at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, made the discovery of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in March of last year.
It can be harder for people in the Southern Hemisphere to see the comet. However, depending on its brightness, the comet could even be visible in the dark skies with just the naked eye, though it will be simpler to see with binoculars or a telescope.
Observers after the moon had set reportedly saw the comet without any special equipment, according to multiple news accounts.
While not all comets are visible with the naked eye, C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which will be 26 million miles from Earth during its close approach, is anticipated to do so.
However, astronomers are advised to utilize binoculars or a telescope for a sharper and more in-depth look.
Viewing comet in UAE sky
It will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for UAE residents to see an outer solar system comet when it makes its closest visit to the planet in 50,000 years.
On February 4, the Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG) will host a ticketed event for the unusual celestial sighting in Dubai’s Al Qudra Desert.
The cost of the event’s tickets is as follows: Children under the age of 13 can attend for AED 100 ($27), while members of the Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG) can do so for AED 70 ($19). General entry is AED 120 ($32). Families of DAG members can get financial help.
The event schedule comprises an introduction, a discussion on comet observation, and comet viewing. Sky mapping, an Arabian Astronomy workshop, and a Q&A session will also be included. Throughout the evening, telescopes will be accessible for viewing Jupiter, Mars, the Moon, and other deep sky objects. There will also be a chance to snap pictures of celestial objects through the telescopes.
For an extra AED 50 ($13) per person, DAG will offer pick-up and drop-off services at the Center point Metro Station.
The pick-up time is at 4:45 PM (GMT +4), the departure time is at 5:20 PM, the arrival time at the event location is at 6:20 PM, the event begins at 6:40 PM, the event ends at 9:30 PM, the departure time from the event location is at 9:50 PM, and the drop-off time at the Center point Metro Station is at 10:50 PM.
As the comet continues its journey through the inner solar system, it reached its closest point to the sun, known as perihelion, on January 12, and its closest point to Earth, known as perigee, on Wednesday.