Green comet streaking through the night sky will be visible in suburbs for a few weeks
Amateur astronomers of the suburbs take note: For the next few weeks, a bright green-tinted comet will be visible in the night sky through telescopes or binoculars before it slips from view for another 50,000 years, some experts say.
The comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the outer reaches of the solar system, hence the long time between visits, according to The Planetary Society.
Those able to spot the comet, which currently lacks a clever nickname and is referred to as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), will see it glows green, a result of the sun's heating up the comet's usually frozen carbon gas, NASA officials said.
Those with telescopes or binoculars can try to glimpse the comet in the northern sky around midnight in the coming weeks. Experts said it will appear low on the northeastern horizon.
The comet might be bright enough to be spotted with the naked eye, but the Chicago area's light pollution is said to be regularly among the country's worst.
For those without the proper equipment, officials from the Cernan Earth & Space Center of Triton College in River Grove recommend anyone interested in seeing the comet tune in to a livestream at 10 p.m. Jan. 12, hosted by the Virtual Telescope Project based in Italy. The livestream can be found at virtualtelescope.eu.
The comet will be closest to the sun Jan. 12 and closest to Earth on Feb. 2, NASA officials said Monday. NASA officials expect the comet to rapidly fade from view soon after Feb. 2. But where the comet heads next hasn't been determined yet. The comet was only first spotted by astronomers in March 2022.
Wherever it goes, scientists agree it won't return in our lifetimes.