Tonight, Houstonians have the opportunity to witness two celestial events that don’t come around often. The International Space Station and the “green comet”, C/2022 E3, will be visible in the night sky, and if you’re lucky enough to get away from the city lights, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of both.
At 7:20 p.m., the International Space Station will emerge from the northwest horizon, but because the sun will have set four minutes after it becomes visible, it will pass into the Earth’s shadow and seemingly disappear from the night sky. Don’t worry though, the astronauts will still be zooming along at 17,500 miles per hour, just out of our sight.
Meanwhile, the green comet made its closest approach to Earth on Thursday night, but because of the clouds in Southeast Texas, Friday night will give us our best chance to spot the once-in-a-50,000-year event. To get the best view, you’ll want to look to the north about halfway up the sky. Binoculars or a telescope will be necessary to see it, and the best viewing conditions will be closer to midnight.
If you plan to go outside to view either of these celestial events, make sure you dress appropriately! Temperatures will be in the 40s by the time the ISS passes overhead, and it could be in the upper 30s if you wait until midnight to catch a glimpse of the comet.
So, grab your coat and your binoculars and head out tonight for a chance to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event!