Green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is getting closer to our planet on one of its rare visits. A photo in a northerly direction with a bright telephoto lens and a longer exposure time from Wednesday night shows the celestial body in the starry sky.
The picture was taken in a dark place on a moor near Drebber in Lower Saxony. According to the Association of Star Friends, the comet, which only passes our planet every 50,000 years, is at its closest distance from Earth at around 42 million kilometers on February 1st. That's almost a third of the distance from Earth to the sun.
According to the astronomers, a good time for observing is as early as the end of January, when less moonlight brightens the sky and the weather cooperates. It may then even be seen with the naked eye, but in any case with binoculars or a telescope.
The comet has a greenish shimmering coma, a kind of particle shell, covering around 50,000 kilometers. According to the German Aerospace Center, the green color comes from a gas that is produced by heating in the sun. The celestial body C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is so named because it was first seen from an observatory in the United States last year as part of a program called the Zwicky Transient Facility.
DLR to comets