MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, also known as the Green Comet, which passes the Earth for the first time in over 50,000 years, will be brightest today, February 1, 2023, at 9:48 pm (Philippine Time).
In PAGASA’s February 2023 Astronomical Diary, the Green Comet “will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 0.28 AU (42 million km).” It will be among “the background stars of the constellation Camelopardalis, the Giraffe.”
Since it is circumpolar, the Green Comet will be visible in the evening sky until midnight and will be at its brightest at around 9:48 pm.
“To locate this comet, find the north star Polaris as it points to the comet, 32 degrees above the northern horizon,” PAGASA said. “It will then sink towards the horizon as the sun rises the next day.”
Filipino sky gazers are also in for a treat since the comet has a magnitude of 6, meaning it can be seen using a telescope or binoculars. However, it can be challenging to see with the naked eye.
PAGASA also notes that spotting the comet may need patience due to the waxing gibbous moon, which may affect observation.
Watch PAGASA’s February 2023 Astronomical Diary below:
Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, the Green Comet
Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California in early March 2022, hence the name.
It is called the Green Comet due to its green glow coming from the comet’s coma, caused by glowing carbon gas.
This rare comet’s close approach to Earth is the first in over 50,000 years. – WhatALife!