Comet C/2002 E3 (ZTF)

You might have heard about the “green” comet. It’s been lurking around in the Corona Borealis constellation for a while and is now moving over between the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, headed toward Casseopeia. All of those are fairly bright constellations near the north celestial pole, so in theory the comet should be easy-ish to find.

It’s just now growing to be bright enough to be visible to the naked eye – if you’re in a dark location with no light pollution and a cloud-free, haze-free sky. “If” carries a lot of weight in that sentence. The Los Angeles suburbs and the infamous San Fernando Valley have none of those things.

Which is why I’m using binoculars, which in theory at this point should make the comet easily visible – if I’m looking in the right place.

So I’m using a map – this one from TheSkyLive.com is really good. Just make sure you have it set for the correct time and location.

For the past four nights I’ve looked, but haven’t seen it yet. On the other hand, to our north it’s been hazy as all get out, some times tough to even seen the bright stars of The Big Dipper, even with binoculars. With a faint, diffuse comet being that much harder to see, I’m not surprised.

But tonight is much more clear, so I’m going to go back out. We’ll see what we’ll see.

Comet ZTF will be getting more bright and rising higher in the sky for Northern Hemisphere viewers over the next several weeks. If you’re up late, like near midnight, or at least after 22:00, go take a look!

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