Discovered last March, special comet C/2022 E3 (nicknamed the green comet) will be visible for the first time in 50,000 years. That means the last time the green comet was observable from Earth predated modern humans!
Scientists say the comet originated from the Oort cloud, which is an icy shell that surrounds the entire solar system. Some rocks within the ring are as big as mountains. The green comet is an interesting phenomenon because up until this point scientists have not directly observed any artifact from the Oort cloud.
Although many comets are not visible to the naked eye, the green comet is! It will be best to view it tonight or this upcoming weekend as it will not be visible for long. The best time to look for the comet is either late at night or early in the morning, directly before sunrise. Students at Drew are lucky for the campus’s clear sky and low light pollution, as that will greatly aid with comet visibility.
Not sure how to tell if something in the sky is a comet, a star or an alien spaceship? Astronomers recommend paying close attention to the lights that appear fuzzier than others. If one has access to a telescope or a pair of binoculars, the viewer might even be able to see the comet’s fuzzy tail.
If you miss the green comet this weekend, it will be rounding Mars around Feb. 10. Looking for Mars will guide the viewer to both the planet and the comet.
Be sure to take advantage of this incredible opportunity! Not only are comets visible to the naked eye rare, but it is also highly unlikely you will be around for C/2022 E3’s next trip around the world.
Annabelle Smith is a first-year who is currently exploring her major.