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Teen captures dazzling image of rare comet only seen once every 50,000 years

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Jan 31, 2023

After trying for weeks to capture a clear image of a newly-discovered and incredibly rare comet flying near Earth this month, a teenage amateur astrophotographer in Canton managed to snap a brilliant image of it on Saturday night.

Asher Albrecht, 16, took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to photograph Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and took this brilliant photo:

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Image of the rare and newly-discovered comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), captured by an teenage amateur astrophotographer in Canton last Saturday night.

His mother told News 5 that Asher had been trying all month to get a clear photo of the comet, but the perfect shot eluded him until this weekend.

If you want to see and snap the comet yourself, this week is the optimal time to see it, as it passes closest to Earth on Feb. 2. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves swiftly toward the northwest.

Scientists estimate this comet only orbits our sun once every 50,000 years, so it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but it has reportedly been getting brighter over the last few months. It may be bright enough to see with the naked eye. It will be much easier to see with a telescope and or binoculars though. Scientists suggest heading outside before sunrise and looking to the northwest toward the North Star.

Of course, if you want to see it, like Asher, you will have to contend with Northeast Ohio's cloudy skies. Power of 5 Meteorologist Katie McGraw says there will be fewer clouds in the skies Wednesday and Thursday morning, so those may be your best chances to see it.

The comet’s catchy name – C/2022 E3 (ZTF) — is derived from the fact that it was discovered just last year at the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at the Palomar Observatory in California.

RELATED: Once in every 50,000 Years!! How to spot a recently discovered and rare comet this week!

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