If you've yet to catch the rare green comet in our skies, don't fret, because this celestial phenomenon will still be visible from Singapore for the next few weeks. According to Stargazing Singapore, the comet will appear very close to Mars today (February 11), gradually getting dimmer over the weeks as it travels further from earth. For a chance to spot the green comet, bring your binoculars to a dark spot unobstructed by trees or buildings. As long as you face north and the skies are clear, you should be able to observe it streaking through our skies.
January 31, 2023
Between the Geminid meteor show and an asteroid brushing by Earth just a few days ago, it’s been quite an exciting few months for astronomy geeks. And things are about to get spicier with the arrival of a once-in-a-lifetime green comet.
Known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), this comet only journeys past Earth once every 50,000 years – the last time it did, Neanderthals roamed the earth. The comet has been visible in our skies for the past month, but here’s how to catch a piece of the action as it makes its closest approach in the next few days.
What is a green comet?
Comets are giant snowballs of frozen gases, dust and rock that orbit the sun. As they travel closer to the sun, blasts of radiation turn its icy exterior to gas and debris, producing their characteristic long tail. In the case of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) it’s this atmosphere – called the ‘coma’ – burning up around it that shines with a unique green hue.
This rare green comet was first detected by astronomers in California in March 2022. As it has travelled towards us from the furthest reaches of outer space, it has been glowing steadily brighter and is now visible to the naked eye – at least in dark areas with low light pollution.
When can I see the green comet in Singapore?
Avid stargazers in Singapore have already been capturing shots of the comet in our skies – just check out awesome shots from the folks over at Stargazing Singapore.
To join the fun, head out on February 1 and 2 when the comet is expected to make its closest approach to Earth. It will be a mere 42.5 million kilometres away, though that’s still a 100 times further than the moon. According to Stargazing Singapore, the best observable time is between 5.30am and sunrise, so get to bed early the night before.
How can I watch the green comet?
A pair of binoculars should do, barring cloudy weather. Find somewhere dark with minimal light pollution, and look towards the north east. Keep your eyes peeled for a small, dim and green object in the sky. If you’re hoping to snap a shot, Stargazing Singapore recommends bringing along a wide field lens and stacking multiple shots to bring out the full details of the stunning comet.
The weather's been wet and gloomy recently, so some of us might not want to take our chances by heading out in person. No worries though – you can still catch the stunning green comet make its pass via this free webcast.
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