If you’re excited to catch a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of the rare green comet this week but aren’t too sure about what’s going on - Here’s what to expect!
When is it happening?
As of February 5th, the comet has been visible from the New Zealand sky.
However, Astronomer Robert Davidson says: “with the comet being low to the horizon and a full moon in the sky, people may find it difficult to spot the rare comet, even with special equipment.”
Davidson also suggested that Kiwis may have more luck spotting the comet on Saturday, February 11- but you better be quick because you’ll need to catch it before the moon rises around 10pm.
The comet has passed its closest proximity to earth in the Northern hemisphere, which means we were unable to spot it.
For us Kiwis in the Southern hemisphere, the comet will be further away from Earth and closer to Mars, but that should help us locate it a little easier.
What is so special about it?
According to Nasa, the comet has a bright green glow around its nucleus due to the effect of sunlight on diatomic carbon and cyanogen.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is said to be the first to pass over the earth since the Stone Age 50,000 years ago. It’s also possible the comet may never reach sight from Earth again.
What does it mean for me?
Davidson advises Kiwis to use some equipment to view the comet if they want to see it, but don’t freak out because a pair of binoculars should do the trick!
"A simple pair of binoculars may well be enough to help you spot it, particularly if you have something to help keep them steady."
Avoiding excess light, including both natural and artificial light pollution, was also advised by the astronomer.
I’m making sure to try to catch a glimpse of this ultra-rare comet this weekend - what about you?