C/2022 E3 ZTF is a long period comet which reaches its perihelion on January 12th. Its closest approach to Earth will be on February 1st at a
distance of 0.28 AU (1 AU is the distance between Earth and the Sun). It is being said that it has been brightening in our skies over the
past month, rising around 11:00pm, it will be moving past Hercules, right up towards Ursa Minor.
On the 23rd and 24th, the comet will be to the left of the galaxy M102 in Draco - which makes a great photo opportunity. Also known as the
spindle galaxy, it will be faint. But cameras should be able to pic it up nicely in the same shot as the comet. Fingers crossed!
Right at the end of the month it will be around the North star, Polaris, and is said to be bright enough that you can see it with binoculars hovering around here for the last few nights of the month. If you get a clear sky, why not pop out and see if you can spot it.
Tonight's Moon tilts towards its western side in Lunar liberation this time. So it's a great opportunity to spot the unusual, Mare Orientale, that is not usually visible. It was formed by the impact of an asteroid-sized object.
As the Sun sets, Saturn and Venus will be really close in our evening sky. They will be low in the South West with Saturn being just above the brighter Venus. Be quick though, as they will be setting just after 6:00pm. You will also be able to spot Jupiter above the pair to their left.
Look at the same place around 5:50pm and you will see a thin crescent Moon join the duo of planets, Venus and Saturn. The ISS will also be rising to their
right flying up and over Jupiter. Get out a bit earlier to see the cool conjunction before hopefully watching the space station fly across the sky.
Tonight, our Moon will have moved just below the gas giant Jupiter, with another possible fly over of the ISS at around 7:20pm. If you draw a line between the two, following it up you should see a bright red Mars in between the Hyades cluster and Pleiades. Don't mistake the star that represents the bulls eye Aldebaran, as it is also red.
Mercury the messenger is at its greatest western elongation. But it will be a tough spot as the Sun is rising quite close to it in the South East. You may see a tiny white dot on the horizon. Please be careful when viewing objects near the Sun.
The Moon now moves back past Mars in the night sky. This will create a fantastic view with the different brightly coloured stars that all hang in the South. A red Mars, Betelgeuse, Aldebaran with the whiter / bluer Sirius, Procyon, Rigel, Capella... and chuck in Orions belt as well to create a huge open cluster of awesomely big stars.
Clear skies guys, and remember... there's a billion worlds in your back garden!