Footage shows comet not seen since the ice age as it approaches Earth

Officials believe last people to see the comet were likely Neanderthals

A comet that hasn’t been seen since the ice age will be visible in the northern hemisphere in early February. Some people have captured video of the comet and th

Comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered by astronomers in March 2022 and has since brightened to the point that it will potentially be visible to the naked eye this month.

The comet was closest to Earth on Thursday morning, Feb. 2, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Footage posted by Matt Graves on January 28 shows the green comet in the sky as it made its approach toward Earth. You can see the video in the media player at the top of this article.

The comet will remain visible through early February becoming visible to observers in the southern horizon later in the month. says the easiest time to spot it might be Sunday, Feb. 5, when the comet is next to the bright star Capella, or Feb. 9 and 13 when its shine will appear near Mars.

The comet has a period of around 50,000 years, which means the last time the comet came this close to Earth was during the Upper Paleolithic period, reported.

“That means the last humans that could have spotted C/2022 E3 (ZTF) were early homo sapiens alive during the last glacial period or ice age,” according to “So, too, could some say of the last Neanderthals, as that species became extinct around 10,000 years after the last perihelion [or orbit] of C/2022 E3 (ZTF).”

“Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness, it’ll be easy to spot with binoculars, and it’s just possible it could become visible to the unaided eye under dark skies,” JPL officials said.

Telescopic image from December 19, 2022 (Dan Bartlett, Dan Bartlett/NASA)

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