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Where to spot Green comet in Scotland? All you need to know

SCOTS stargazers will have the chance tonight to see a newly discovered comet which hasn’t been visible to the naked eye since the Stone Age.

But we warned – if you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 50,000 years for a glimpse.


The Green CometCredit: Reuters

The Green Comet is currently flying across the skies of the UK and some eagle-eyed astronomers might have been lucky enough to see it in the early hours of this morning.

But fear not, because experts believe that the best chance to spot it will be after midnight tonight and into the early hours of tomorrow morning.

However, not all of us will be lucky enough because to catch a sight of it, the stars will need to align in more ways than one.

First of all, you’ll need to be in a remote part of the country – such as the Highlands – where there is the least light pollution.

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So those of us in built up areas like Glasgow and Edinburgh are already up against it.

The weather will also have to do us a favour, because a clear, cloudless sky is vital.

And finally, you’ll need to have 20-20 vision otherwise you’ll need to depend on binoculars or a telescope.

The green comet – otherwise known as C/2022 E3 – originates from the Oort cloud. This cloud is made up of a spherical layer of icy objects and is thought to be located between 2,000 and 100,000 astronomical units (AU) from our Sun.

It is currently making its closest approach to Earth – at a distance of 27 million miles away.

Over the years, a range of images of the comet have been captured by astronomers, and show a faint green glow surrounding the comet.

This is thought to be caused by the presence of diatomic carbon, bonded pairs of carbon atoms which emit green light when stimulated by the Sun’s energy.

It is visible in the Northern Hemisphere now but it will be at its most visible until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Some observers have reportedly been able to view the comet without the aid of a telescope or binoculars, according to the BBC Sky at Night magazine.

Dr Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, warned that observers expecting a “bright green object lighting up the sky” may be disappointed.

He told BBC News: “If you’re lucky, you’ll see a hint of the tail coming off it. Even a small pair of binoculars will help you find it.

“You might have seen these reports saying we’re going to get this bright green object lighting up the sky. Sadly, that’s not going to be anything like the case.”

However, away from light pollution and below dark skies, you might be able to see a smudge in the sky – if you know what you’re looking for.

Comets are mostly composed of ice and dust. As they approach the Sun, the ice is vaporised and the dust shaken off to create the signature long tail.

Meanwhile an Aberdeen astronomy expert says the best places to view the comet will be those with less light pollution – such as northern Scotland.

Torcuill Torrance, 50, is a committee member of the Aberdeen Astronomical Society and has been tracking the comet for over a month with his team.

He said: “You need to be in a dark place to see it, and away from any cities or places with light pollution.
“Right now it is quite close to the North Star, otherwise known as Polaris.

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“People will be able to use an app on their phone which will point them in the right direction, but failing that a pocket compass always does the job.

“If people look up at around 60 degrees it should be there in the sky.”

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