SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) –
Earlier this week, Comet C/2022 E3 made a pass of our sun as it makes its first visit to our solar system in about 50,000 years!
As it did, the ice that makes up this astronomical object went from a solid state to a gas. This creates a ‘tail’ which is the distinct feature of any comet.
Now that the comet has made its closest pass to the sun, its orbit will take it back out of the solar system but not before coming close, astronomically speaking, to earth. On February 1st it’s coming ‘just’ 45 million miles away from the earth
Will comet C/2022 E3 give us a show?
It is too early to say. Trying to predict how bright a comet ends up is like trying to predict the stock market. Many times, a comet passing by earth is nothing but a dud.
Still as we head toward the end of January and early February there is the chance for a show.
When should I look for the comet?
It appears the best time to look is after midnight.
To get the best view, try to find a location away from city lights that also has an uninstructed view to the north and northeast. Also, astronomers warn that as the comet gets closer to the earth even though it gets larger it becomes more spread out.
Since we don’t know how bright it will be, you should have binoculars handy. If the comet turns out bright you should see it and its tail without binoculars or a telescope.
Keep checking back to find out more about the comet’s brightness. Also, check out the latest Storm Team forecast here to see if viewing conditions look good.
Where would the comet show up in the sky?
As of mid-January, Comet C/2022 E3 was in the northeast sky to the right (or east) of both the Big and Little Dipper and above the brighter star Vega which is below the comet closer to the northeast horizon.
By the end of January Comet C/2022 E3 will track west from night to night and should start to show up in the northern sky, perhaps viewed by the naked eye.
Around January 26 and 27th the comet will be located just above of the Little Dipper’s bowl. The North Star is at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper.
Comet C/2022 E3 continues to move away from the earth the rest of 2023 and astronomers believe its orbit will not allow it to make a return to our solar system.