Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is a newly discovered comet that was first observed in 2022 by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), a survey aimed at capturing transient astronomical events. It is named after the facility and its discovery year, 2022. Astronomers believe the Comet last visited us some 50,000 years ago. It has been nicknamed “The Green Comet” because of the out-gassing and ionisation of diatomic-Carbon along with cyanogens. Comets are small, icy bodies that originate in the outer solar system and can become visible when they approach the sun and release gas and dust, creating a glowing tail. The exact characteristics and behavior of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) are not known, but it is being monitored by astronomers to gather more information.
The Comet will be visible to us in the Southern Hemisphere in early February. To observe the Comet you will need a dark sky, a clear view to the North and either a pair of binoculars or a telescope. The best nights to view the comet will be Thursday 9th February, Friday 10th of February and Saturday 11th February with Saturday 11th being the best night overall. If you do try and view the Comet any earlier than these dates you will have to contend with the brightness of the Moon which will affect visibility.
The Gravity Discovery Centre & Observatory not only has a clear Northern aspect, but large telescopes in a world class Observatory under dark skies, with passionate astronomers ready to show you the Green Comet of 2023 (along with other incredible targets).
On Friday 10th & Saturday 11th of February, the GDC Observatory will be hosting two Comet Sessions to observe Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) along with a pre-tour presentation (about comets) so you can learn all about these “Hairy Stars” that grace our skies every now and then. If you would like to make a booking for the Comet session click here and book the Observatory tour on either 10th or 11th of February.
On Saturday the 11th Feb, Chief Astronomer Rick, will be doing a Live-Sky broadcast from a “Super-Secret” location when Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be located just above the planet Mars.
Book your tickets now for our special Comet Observing Sessions at the GDC Observatory or tune into our FaceBook page on Saturday 11th February at 8:30pm for a Live-Sky Astronomy “Comet Special.”
Disclaimer: We’re not sure how bright The Green Comet will be. Comets are fickle things, they may become bright enough to observe with the naked eye, or they may be really faint.
Either way, if you get out there with your binoculars or scope, you’re still going to have a lot of fun, or join us at the GDC Observatory and observe this “Hairy Star” from our telescopes.