Comet passing near Earth this week, visible over Cluster, New England

A recently discovered comet will make its closest approach to Earth this week. New England sky detectives can see the comet, named ZTF (C/2022 E3), with the help of good binoculars or a telescope. Comet ZTF will be located between the Big and Little Dippers, in the northern sky, during the last two nights of January. The best times to catch a glimpse of the comet are in the early morning hours, after the moon has set, according to the Cambridge-based Sky and Telescope. Contrary to many reports, the comet won’t appear green to most people, according to the head of Sky and Telescope. Editor, Kelly Petty. “Our eyes can’t see color very well at night,” Beatty said, adding, “Green is not uncommon with comets.” Beatty warns night sky viewers not to set expectations too high when trying to see Comet ZTF. The moon’s strong light and light pollution would be “killers for comets” because the comet is just a ball of haze, Beatty said. The bright moon will interfere with visibility as the moon moves toward its full phase, between February 3 and 5. Then, the best viewing times will be after sunset. The sun, just before the moon rises, between Feb. 6 and 22. Video below: A line of lights spotted in the sky above the cluster.

A recently discovered comet will make its closest approach to Earth this week. New England sky detectives can see the comet, named ZTF (C/2022 E3), with the help of good binoculars or a telescope.

Comet ZTF is located between the Big and Little Dippers in the northern sky during the last two nights of January.

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The best times to catch a glimpse of the comet are in the early morning hours, after the moon has set, according to Cambridge HQ. sky and telescope.

Sky and Telescope / Kelly Beatty

Sky chart showing the location in the sky of Comet ZTF

Contrary to many reports, the comet will not appear green to most people, according to Sky and Telescope Editor-in-Chief Kelly Beatty.

“Our eyes can’t see color very well at night,” Beatty said, adding, “Green is not uncommon with comets.”

Beatty warns night sky viewers not to set expectations too high when trying to see Comet ZTF.

“The strong moonlight and light pollution would be ‘killers for comets’ because a comet is just a ball of haze,” Beatty said.

The bright moon will interfere with visibility as the moon heads toward its full phase, between February 3-5. Then, the best viewing times will be after sunset, before the moon rises, between February 6 and 22.

Video below: A line of lights spotted in the sky above the cluster.

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