A rare, green comet will pass Earth starting this week

If you look at the night sky next month and see a small green light in the sky, don’t panic, aliens haven’t landed.

A rare green comet is expected to pass Earth this week and be visible in the night sky for nearly a month, according to NASA and astronomers.

This handout image from the NASA website shows Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which was discovered by astronomers using the Wide-Field Survey Camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility.

Dan Bartlett/NASA/AFP via Getty Images

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered last March when it was already in Jupiter’s orbit. It is distinguished by its green glow.

The comet is expected to come closest to the Sun on Jan. 12, or perihelion, as known to stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere, NASA scientists said. Those in the Southern Hemisphere will be able to see the comet in February.

“Comets are unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness, it will be easily detectable with binoculars and visible to the unaided eye under dark skies,” NASA wrote in its post. “What is the matter” blog earlier this month.

Photo: Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) makes its closest approach to Earth on February 2, 2023.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to Earth on February 2, 2023.

NASA

The comet will move northwest across the horizon throughout January and will make its closest approach to Earth between February 1 and February 2, according to NASA. At that time, the comet will be 26 million miles from the planet, according to astronomers.

The comet, according to astronomical maps, will be close to Mars in about a week.

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