A rare green comet will be at its brightest this week, and you may be able to see it if you get away from city lights.
The comet, called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has an unusually long orbital period of around 50,000 years. The last time it neared the Sun, Earth was in its upper paleolithic era as humans and Neanderthals roamed Europe.
As the comet enters the inner solar system this week, it becomes brighter.
” It is the tails of comets, the dust and gas ion tails, that make comets the spectacle that they are.” Says Frank Florian, Senior Manager of Planetary and Space Sciences at Telus World of Science in Edmonton.
“From Fort McMurray, you can easily find a dark sky away from the city, providing a great dark sky after the Moon moves out of the picture.”
For most of this week the comet will be nearly straight over-head in the northern sky.
“Sometimes the beautiful aurora can be seen from Fort McMurray, but for comet viewing, having a darker sky without the aurora will make comet hunting easier” says Florian.
The last bright comet visible from Fort McMurray was Comet Neowise in 2020.