Scientists: Comet will soon be seen across Washington skies

Jan 6, 2023, 10:50 AM | Updated: 1:50 pm
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A comet, potentially bright enough to be seen by the naked eye across the skies of Washington state, is coming this February.

According to space.com, the comet is passing through the inner solar system and will soar past Earth between Feb. 1 and 2.

The comet is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and if it continues to brighten, it could be visible in Washington without binoculars or a telescope. According to SkyLive.com, the comet is currently in the constellation of Corona Borealis. The distance of the comet from the Earth is currently 81,747,767 miles. Light takes seven minutes to travel from the comet and arrive to us.

Images of comet Neowise in Seattle’s sky

According to NASA, the comet was first sighted in March last year when it was already inside the orbit of Jupiter.

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet in the morning sky as it moves swiftly toward the orthwest during January.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the comet was discovered by astronomers at the Zwicky Transient Facility at CalTech in March 2022 but has existed for 50,000 years. At that time, humans and Neanderthals existed on the planet at the same time.

The last time a comet was seen in Washington

Comets are large objects made of dust and ice that orbit the Sun. They usually have long, streaming tails. They were formed at the beginning of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

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Scientists: Comet will soon be seen across Washington skies