A bright green celestial ball of dust and ice, Comet Lovejoy, is traveling across the Northern Hemisphere. Some might be able to see it with the naked eye…you’ll just need to go to a remote location like the Arizona desert or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Others will have to use a telescope or binoculars. Dean Regas, outreach astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory, says a pair of 10 x 50s should do the trick. “The farther away from the city lights you can get, the better,” he says.
Regas explains, “This week, when you see Orion’s belt, that’s an indication you can probably start looking for it.” What makes the comet green? “When ultraviolet light from the sun hits gas molecules in the comet’s coma, they get excited.” Not everyone will get to see the green tint. For the full green effect, Regas suggests using a telescope which lets in more light.