How to photograph the rare green comet that is passing by Earth

A rare green comet will be viewable as it travels around Earth Wednesday night, a once in a 50,000-year event, offering an opportunity for amateurs and professionals alike to take beautiful photos.

The sun-orbiting cosmic snowball called C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which has become increasingly more visible in the nighttime sky, is closest to Earth Wednesday night. Scientists say you’ll need a good pair of binoculars or a small telescope to view it.

Made of frozen rock and dust, the comet enthralled astronomers and photographers after the first sighting in March 2022 on its journey through the inner solar system.

The comet will travel within about 26 million miles of Earth, according to NASA.

A popular camera manufacturer is offering tips shared by professional photographer and Canon's "Explorer of Light" Jennifer Wu on how to photograph the comet and night sky in general.

Where should you go to photograph the comet?

  • Check the weather on the night you are viewing and check for clear skies.

  • Drive away from cities to where there is little light pollution, especially when looking in the direction of the comet.

  • Deserts with dry air or higher altitudes can have good visibility and provide a pretty foreground with the comet.

What equipment to bring

  • A red headlamp or flashlight to preserve your night vision and your camera.

  • Binoculars to help spot the comet.

  • A sturdy tripod, which is essential for long exposures.

  • Warm clothes, water, and snacks.

  • Wu suggests using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or mirrorless camera.

  • To photograph landscapes with the comet smaller in the frame, use a wide-angle lens in the range of 24 to 70 mm or wider (less than 24 mm).

  • For a closer frame of the comet, use a telephoto lens in the range of 100 to 500 mm.

Best camera settings to photograph a comet

  • The comet you see will not look like the photographs you take, if your settings are correct.

  • Start with a shutter speed of around 10 seconds to get the tail. The tail and green color appears with the long exposure in the camera, but we usually don’t see much color with our naked eye.

  • Begin with an aperture of F2.8 or wider (higher) number such as F4 or 5.6.

  • Set a high ISO of 3200 or 6400, depending upon the light of the moon (ISO number should be lower if the moon is bright).

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY's NOW team.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Here's the best way to photograph the rare green comet passing Earth