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Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in March 2022.

Dan Bartlett/NASA


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Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in March 2022.

Welcome to a new NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.

For one night only! Meet C/2022 E3 (her friends call her the green comet for short).

Who is she? A potentially unprecedented celestial happening. So trade in your typical evening blue light for some green light instead. It’s a connection to history and the galaxy that won’t try to sell you something.

Here’s my first effort at capturing the “Green Comet”, Comet c/2022 E3 (ZTF). This was a particular challenge due to humid conditions and clouds, but I’m thrilled I was able to capture it at all! pic.twitter.com/t2VGEnfKX8

— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy)

What’s the big deal? We know very little about C/2022 E3, but it appears that its long orbit takes it from the outer expanses of the solar system and then in towards the sun, according to The Planetary Society.

What are people saying?

“If C/2022 E3 has ever passed through the solar system before, it would have last been seen in the sky more than 10,000 years ago.”

— Jon Giorgini, a senior analyst at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told NPR

“You can find the comet by looking south of the Big Dipper, near the constellation Camelopardalis. If you can find the North Star, you can then trace directly south of that to that.”

— Bryce Bolin, one of the astronomers who discovered the comet,

The green comet I captured last night. This is about 45 min pic.twitter.com/jzAqHucB7W

— Matt Graves (@GravesSpectrum)

So, what now? Your best bet to see the comet will be between Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 1-2. The glow will be most visible against the night sky, but that might vary based on how overcast your region is.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may look pretty dazzling in those NASA photos, but this is a closer idea of what you might see in the sky tonight. #nofilter

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


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Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may look pretty dazzling in those NASA photos, but this is a closer idea of what you might see in the sky tonight. #nofilter

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