A rare green comet named C/2022 E3 is passing by Earth and is expected to appear in the Indian skies on January 30. The last time this comet was near Earth was 50,000 years ago. It is estimated to be closest to our planet on February 2 at a distance of 42 million kilometres before it heads far into the solar system.
Rare Green Comet to Make Closest Pass by Earth
The comet has already been photographed in the skies above the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Hanle, Ladakh and is leaving a dazzling tail behind. It is moving at a speed of 2,07,000 kilometres per hour as it travels between Earth and Mars.
To spot the comet, look for it at a height of 20 degrees between Saptarshi Mandal and the Pole Star. The best time to see it is right after moonset in the early morning hours. Binoculars and a telescope will give you a better view of the comet, which is expected to be the brightest in 2023.
Comets are snowballs that orbit the solar system and consist of frozen gases, rocks, and dust. They become luminous when they approach the Sun and heat up, spewing gases and dust. NASA says that this comet will move to the northwest over the course of January and will make its closest approach to Earth between February 1 and 2. If it maintains its current brightness, it will be visible with binoculars and may even be seen with the naked eye under dark skies. To avoid light pollution, stargazers can go to dark, scarcely populated areas for a better view of the comet.