Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

comet c/2022 e3 (ZTF)

Lorenzo Busilacchi/Flickr
Image of comet ZTF taken on January 14.

A recently discovered comet has been in the news lately since it is expected to be bright enough to see with the naked eye.  The official designation is C/2022 E3 (ZTF), but for simplicity we'll just call it ZTF.  That stands for the Zwicky Transient Facility in California where it was discovered on March 2, 2022.

ZTF made its closest approach to the Sun on Jan 12 at 1.1 AU, just a little outside Earth's orbit.  As it swings around it will make its closest approach to Earth on Feb 1 at 0.28 AU, over 100 times farther than the Moon.

At its closest approach, it is expected to be around magnitude 5, which is bright enough to see with the naked eye under dark sky conditions.  Binoculars or a small telescope will make it even easier to see.  At that time it will be around 10-15° from our north star and will be up all night long.

Long exposures reveal that the comet has a greenish glow, which comes from the breakup of dicarbon (C2→2C) in the comet's coma.

Extra Info

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) | — observations and predictions, including an interactive orbit simulation

Comet ZTF sky chart ( (in German)