Green Comet.jpeg

This handout picture obtained from the NASA website shows the Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) that was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility.

If you are a stargazer in Mississippi then you might have a chance to see something rare when your eyes look to the sky in late January into early February.

According to NASA, C/2022 E3 (ZTF), or “Green Comet,” will be made visible to stargazers in January. The comet has an orbit around the sun that passes through the outer reaches of the solar system. NASA explained that is why it’s taken such a long journey to swing by Earth again.

While the Northern Hemisphere will best see the comet during early January, including just before midnight on January 12, the Southern Hemisphere will be able to see the Green Comet in late January until the first days in February.

“At perihelion on January 12 – from the Northern Hemisphere – look for the comet low on the northeastern horizon just before midnight. Right now, the comet is in the direction of the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Consequently, it’ll be rising between the constellations Boötes and Hercules,” said representatives from EarthSky.

NASA stated the comet should be visible with binoculars in the dark, morning sky and that it can be distinguished from stars by its streaking tails of dust and energized particles with a glowing, green coma surrounding it.

The comet was discovered on March 2, 2022, by astronomers using the Zwicky Transient Facility’s wide-field survey camera at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California. Scientists originally thought the comet was an asteroid.

The comet will be closest to the earth on February 1, 2023.

For those who are interested in viewing the comet without staying outside late, the Virtual Telescope Project is providing a free live stream of the comet beginning at 10 p.m. central time Thursday that can be viewed on the project’s website or its YouTube channel.

NASA recommended downloading a skywatch app to your mobile device to track the comet.