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  • Writer's pictureLuke

Comet incoming!

Updated: Jan 30

We will be visited by a bright green comet this late January/early February! The comet’s official name is Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF but just shortining it to "Comet ZTF" has a better ring to it in my opinion(ZTF stands for Zwicky Transient Facility which is the observatory that first discovered the comet back in March 2022).

A time-lapse of Comet ZTF I took on 1/27/23

On the night/morning of Febuary 1st/2nd 2023 the Comet ZTF will make its closest approach making it brighter in the sky this whole week! It will be passing in the sky right between the Small Dipper (Ursa Minor) and The Big Dipper (Ursa Major).

Sky and Telescope magazine has a good image of where the comet will be in the sky for the next few months here:

A picture of Comet ZTF taken with my telescope on Friday 1/27/23

Comet ZTF should be fairly visible, a decent pair of binoculars or a decent telescope will probably offer the best views and you might be able to catch it with the unaided eye in a very dark place on the night of closest approach (Wednesday Feb 1st). It is hard to predict brightness of comets but about 5+ magnitude seems to be the current guess (about the brightness of Uranus, would barely be seen with dark skies and unaided eyes/require a small telescope or good binoculars to see).