Green comet - latest: Mars and the Moon could make now the best time yet to see E3 ZTF in night sky

The green comet that delighted the world is giving people one last chance to see it – and it might be better than ever.

The comet – officially known as E3 (ZTF), though better known simply as the “green comet” is a rare visitor that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.

It was spotted shortly before it arrived at Earth, and will most likely never visit again. But it’s brief visit has delighted watchers of the night sky, who have rushed to spot it as it flies past.

The comet actually made its closest approach to Earth overnight on 1 February. But now might be the best time to see it, since the Moon’s light got in the way of viewing it earlier in the month and it will now be making an appearance alongside Mars.

As such, tonight could well be the best time to see the planet for 50,000 years, as it has not come past the Earth since then. And there might never be a chance to get such a good view of it, since its journey past Earth could forever alter its orbit so that our paths never cross again.

Key Points

  • What does the green comet look like in the sky?

  • Animation shows path of the comet through the Solar System

  • Green comet is just one of a range of highlights this month

Green comet is just one of the highlights of February’s night sky

17:34 , Andrew Griffin

There’s a lot going on in the night sky this month. And the green comet, officially known as E3 (ZTF) is just one of them. Here, from Nigel Henbest, is a rundown of what’s going on above our heads this month.

Green comet shown flying through the solar system

17:28 , Andrew Griffin

The comet is now on its way past Earth, as this animation shows. But as you can see, it’s still relatively nearby – and it’s on its way past Mars, which could make the view even better in the coming days.

What does the ‘exotic’ green comet look like in the sky?

15:25 , Andrew Griffin

In short, like a “fuzzy green ball or smudge”. But here is the full rundown on what exactly you’re looking for in the night sky.

Hello and welcome...

15:07 , Andrew Griffin

... to The Independent’s live coverage of the green comet, as it hurtles past Earth and off into the solar system.