“The Green Comet will slightly exceed the threshold of visibility with the naked eye. To be best appreciated, it would be advisable to use at least binoculars.” Explaining this to AGI is Gianluca Masi, Italian astrophysicist and popularizer of science, founder of the Virtual Telescope Project and scientific curator of the Planetarium and Astronomical Museum of Rome.

The expert explains the best precautions to follow to observe Comet C/2022 E2 ZTF, also known as the Green Comet, which will return to cross the Solar System after about 50 thousand years. According to current estimates, the Chiomato star will reach its closest point to the Sun on Jan. 12, when it will be about 166 million kilometers from the star.

On Feb. 1 at 6:11 p.m., however, the comet is expected to pass at its closest point to Earth, about 42.5 million kilometers from our planet. Known since March 2, C/2022 E3 ZTF was detected by astronomers Bryce Bolin and Frank Masci, of the Zwicky Transient Facility in California.

“The comet,” Masi continued, “has a variable brightness, but could show up as a streak tending toward greenish-yellow. At Italian latitudes, from mid-January until early February the comet could be visible all night, but with the best conditions offered by the second part of the night. In fact, the Moon will be particularly intrusive on the days most suitable for observing the comet, so it may be advisable to wait for our satellite to step aside to make room for the curved star.”

“The advice,” the astrophysicist concludes, “is to reach a place without artificial light, possibly at high altitudes, and point your binoculars, or telescope, up. In this way you might be able to more easily catch a glimpse of this very rare cosmic apparition.”

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