A green comet, last seen over 50,000 years ago during The Stone Age, will be visible to the naked eye soon in Illinois. Here is the best time to spot it.

What's a Green Comet?

I love laying in a chair and looking up at the stars on a clear summer night, but I am far from an astronomy expert. To be perfectly honest, a lot of things about space completely freak me out and I have ZERO interest in ever traveling up there. That being said, if I can see cool space things from the comfort of my own home, I am totally in. That is why I am now completely fascinated by all the headlines saying a "green comet" will be traveling by Earth soon, but what exactly is a green comet, and why is it so special?

Green Comet Passes By Earth For First Time In 50,000 Years
Getty Images

According to time.com;

Comets flare green when they carry diatomic carbon—two-atom carbon molecules—which reacts with the sun’s outgassing particles, the solar wind. Many comets possess diatomic carbon, but few also approach the sun as closely as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), meaning they show their color less vividly.

Technically, the existence of a green comet was first spotted in March 2022 by two astronomers in  California, but it's about to make another pass by Earth and experts say it may even be visible to those of us that don't have big, fancy telescopes.

A CNN article says;

The icy celestial object will make its closest pass by Earth between February 1 and February 2, around 26 million miles to 27 million miles (42 million kilometers to 44 million kilometers) away, according to EarthSky.

How to Spot The Green Comet

At its closet point, the green comet will still be "more than 100 times the moon’s distance away from Earth", but if conditions are just right and the comet is burning bright enough, we may notice a green smudge located near Polaris, aka, The North Star, tomorrow during the early morning hours after the moon has set here in Illinois.

If getting up super early tomorrow or digging out your binoculars is definitely something you don't want to do, CNN says The Virtual Telescope Project will be streaming a live feed of the comet passing by Rome, here.


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