Are you looking for the “green comet” and having no luck? You should check out my numerous comet-finder guides, but if comet C/2022 E3 ZTF still remains elusive—perhaps your skies are cloudy or you don’t have any binoculars—then there is one sure-fire way you can finally get eyes-on with the icy visitor to the inner solar system.
This week comet C/2022 E3 ZTF can be found in the constellations of Auriga and Taurus with the highlight being a relatively close pass with Mars.
Although it will be getting slightly dimmer as it moves away from Earth and back to the Oort Cloud in the outer solar system the later rising of the Moon after last weekend’s full “Snow Moon” means there will be dark skies in the early evening hours just after sunset.
There are two ways to see it this cosmic conjunction—but only one is guaranteed:
The first is using Stellarium Online, which will show you the exact location right now of the comet—as will many stargazing apps. However, you’ll need clear skies. You’ll also need at least a pair of binoculars (10×50 are recommended as a ballpark for size and power, but 10×42, 7×42 etc. are also fine). The best advice is to head out before the Moon has risen—so find out the times for your location.
The second, much easier and weather-proof way to see it is online with the Virtual Telescope Project.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023 the conjunction with Mars will be streamed in real-time via its two powerful 14-inch and 17-inch robotic telescopes based in Ceccano, Italy. Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi will host a live feed on YouTube during which views of comet C/2022 E3 ZTF will be shown through a telescope. Coverage will begin at 19:00 UTC (14:00 EST).
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.