RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Less than a year ago, a comet now called C/2022 E3 ZTF, was discovered. And it’s been a while since this comet was seen by human eyes.

“It hasn’t been around for a long time,” said Doug Lively, the public relations coordinator for the Raleigh Astronomy Club. “The last time it came around Earth was about 50,000 years ago.”

Lively says the discovery of the comet not only gives us something cool to look at in the night sky, but it can help us learn more about what space was like near the beginning.

“When we study those materials, we get a really good idea of what the nature of our solar system was in the early days,” he explained.

If you want to see the comet for yourself, find a nice open view of the sky like an open field. While you can see it with just your eyes, it’s best to use binoculars.

Finding the comet in the dark, night sky should actually be pretty simple starting around January 26 — just look for two groups of stars many of us are very familiar with: the Little and Big Dippers.

“Look at that corridor that’s between the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper you should see a green dot that’s not been there before,” Lively says.

That green dot is the comet millions of miles away from Earth. It might not look like others you’ve seen, but it is worth seeing. And when you do see it, you can feel linked to the past, and the future.

“Our ancient ancestors, Neanderthals probably saw this comet 50,000 years ago so there’s kind of a connection with our past,” he says. “We won’t see it again for 50,000 years, so who knows who will be looking at it when it comes back around that time.”

The Raleigh Astronomy Club hosts a number of sky gazing events every month, including Wednesday, Jan. 11 at the Willard Lounge in Downtown Raleigh, and Feb. 3 at the Triangle Land Conservancy (formerly Three Bear Acres) in Creedmoor.

For more on their events, or if you want sky-gazing advice, go their website here.