Lammas is almost here. Normally I’d be working out what to make to celebrate the first harvest. Instead, I’m eagerly researching a green comet in the hope I’ll be able to see it traversing the Southern sky at Lammas time.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was last seen 50,000 years ago. It is a long-period comet as it takes more than 200 years to orbit the Sun. Short-period comets take less than 200 years. It is called the green comet as it has an emerald glow around its nucleus. The green colour is likely due to the presence of diatomic carbon (C2).
The green comet is thought to come from the Oort cloud. The Oort cloud, which has never been directly observed, is believed to be in the outer reaches of the solar system, beyond the orbit of Pluto. The Oort Cloud may be the source for most long-period comets.
The green comet is reaching its closest position to Earth and should be visible in Australia and New Zealand from the start of February. It will be difficult to see with the naked eye. To get a really good look, you’ll need binoculars or a telescope. There are lots of updates on when and how to see the green comet online.
While I’m not sure if I’ll be lucky enough to see the green comet, it has inspired me to try my hand at astrophotography. This is my first attempt so naturally I chose my beloved Moon.
So whether you are celebrating Lammas, Imbolc or nothing at all, make sure you watch the skies. You may be surprised by what you see. 🙂