How to spot rare blue comet passing by Mars this weekend

This week could be the last chance to catch a glimpse of a rare green comet as it zips past Mars in the night sky, potentially visible with just a pair of binoculars.

A comet called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) passed by Earth last Wednesday, making its closest approach to our planet in 50,000 years.

It is set to pass near Mars on Friday night and through Saturday. Although the comet will not be visible to the naked eye, a simple pair of binoculars will allow you to spot it.

Long exposure photos of the comet show a trail of green light around it, a short dusty tail and then a long, thin ion tail extending behind it like a line cutting across the night sky— but through binoculars, it’s more likely to appear as a blur in the sky alongside the bright Martian glow.

If you’re thinking of picking up a pair of binoculars or a telescope to see this astronaut on Friday or Saturday, the first thing you need to look for in the sky is Mars.

The red planet will be visible to the naked eye in the night sky across Canada, provided the night sky is clear.

Mars can be found by looking east in the sky or southeast, depending on your location in Canada, and it will appear as an orange dot to the right of Orion. It will be closer to the horizon for those in the western provinces, but should still be bright enough to be visible even in areas with a lot of light pollution.

The comet can be seen with binoculars or through a small telescope after sunset, with the best possible visibility in the hours before dawn.

The Royal Greenwich Museum recommends that any hopeful comet viewer attempt to find a clear sky, allowing their eyes to adjust to the darkness for at least 15 minutes before looking for anything on it. night sky and don’t look at your phone or any other bright lights while trying to look for comets.

According to, those in the northern hemisphere with telescopes may be able to spot the comet later this week, as it will remain visible in the night sky with telescopes until the end of April.

Viewers in the Southern Hemisphere can hardly see the comet, but the Virtual Telescope Project is hosting a live stream of the event online, scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST (EST) February 11.

According to NASA, the comet was first detected by astronomers in March 2022 using a large-scale survey at the Zwicky Transient Facility. It was initially observed as a potential asteroid before astronomers realized that it had all the signs of a comet.

While asteroids are largely composed of rock, comets are mostly ice and dust, with a trail of dust and vaporized gas behind them.

As it got closer to Earth on February 1, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) remained about 100 times farther from the moon than we are. This particular comet’s green glow comes from the decay of dicarbon around the comet, enhanced by UV radiation from the sun.

Astronomers believe the comet originated in the Oort Cloud at the edge of our solar system, where most long-period comets originate. Unlike most stellar objects, which orbit a flat disk around the sun, the Oort Cloud was formed in a spherical shell around our solar system, made up of thick space debris. dense, including icebergs the size of a mountain, according to NASA.

A long-period comet, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has a very large and loose orbit, which is why it last came close to Earth during the Stone Age. It is unknown whether its orbit will bring it close to Earth in the near future, or if it may be on its way out of our solar system forever.

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