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Space enthusiasts capture stunning photos of rare green comet

A green comet that was last seen roughly 50,000 years ago has appeared in the skies this week, including in Australia and New Zealand.

Also known as Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), its debut in the night sky was discovered by astronomers in early 2022, using a wide-field survey camera at an observatory in California.

But on 2 February, it caught the attention of astrophotographers and space enthusiasts alike.

Because that was when the comet was closest to Earth - about 41.8 million kilometres away - in a very long time.

Although it is not uncommon for comets to make rare appearances in the sky due to the size of their orbits, the green comet was last seen roughly 50,000 years ago.

The sheer distance means the comet, despite measuring one-kilometre wide, might only be slightly visible to the naked eye.

Light pollution also affects visibility so its natural green glow can only be picked up by astrophotography.

That is why star-searchers have joined the chase to capture the phenomenon - jumping on the opportunity to put their cool gadgets to use and flex their sky imaging skills.