The skies appear to be clearing just in time to allow us to “look up” – yes, remember that reference – into the night sky as the comet C/2022 E3 passes by Earth.

It was first seen in March 2022 when it flew past Jupiter. According to NASA it’s a long-period comet that came from the Oort Cloud region.

“Unlike the orbits of the planets and the Kuiper belt, which lie mostly in the same flat disk around the Sun, the Oort Cloud is believed to be a giant spherical shell surrounding the rest of the solar system. It is like a big, thick-walled bubble made of icy pieces of space debris the sizes of mountains and sometimes larger. The Oort Cloud might contain billions or even trillions of objects,” according to NASA.

Now a comet that comes from the Oort Cloud kind of blurs the lines (in such a cool way) between science and science fiction. And what’s more, the comet C/2022 E3 should be visible in the morning sky … and appears to be green. At present it can be seen with a telescope but, according to NASA, will be easily spotted with the help of binoculars and may be visible to the naked eye. It will make its closest approach to Earth on Feb. 2.

And if that weren’t enough, the comet hasn’t had a close pass-by of Earth in about 50,000 of years, so Neanderthals were the last to look up in wonderment, according to

Okay, so as cool as this is in real life let’s look at it through the eyes of science fiction, which has been so fascinated by comets there have been hundreds of stories and films about the Earth vs. comet scenario. From Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion” which was about how people of Earth dealt with a comet that at first looked like it would miss the planet but then came straight at it, displaying emotions ranging from disbelief to final acceptance of the end. Or H.G. Wells’ “In the Days of the Comet” where people first ignored that a comet was on its way and they continued their evil ways of war and greed only to have the comet’s tail pass by the Earth, which caused people to come to their senses and act with more humanity – an optimistic view to say the least.

And although it was not a comet but an asteroid in the film “Armageddon” that really took us on a fantastic ride where blue collar, boots-on-the-ground workers had to save the Earth. The band of misfit deep-core drillers had to land on the asteroid to redirect or destroy it to save us all.

And I think this film more than any other has left us all with a blah feeling about comets instead of an excitement of what space has to show us. When humans feel vulnerable they pay more attention … and when we don’t we seem to lose our sense of awe.

Then there is the film “Don’t Look Up.” This film is more about human apathy toward real danger. It paralleled the facts of climate change to the made-up story of a planet-killing comet coming toward Earth; however, it does have echoes of many science fiction stories where people first choose to ignore real danger of destruction regardless of multiple warnings. Of course everyone at the end realizes that the warnings from science were real but they realized them too late.

In all the stories, and in reality, the one thing we can learn is that science is something to be respected. If we do this and truly attempt to understand what science brings us we can view it not with fear but be awe-inspired. As Spock would say, we will find it all “fascinating.”

So be thankful that this comet is going to be a pass-by only. Look up to see its green glow and be inspired at what the universe has to offer.

If it is overcast or you can’t get away from city lights, you can always view it on the Virtual Telescope Project at 8 p.m. on Feb. 2 at or on its YouTube channel.

In the foothills it looks dry for at least the next seven days. There is some rain expected Thursday morning to the north but no precipitation south of Point Conception.

“We do have the coastal flood advisory due to very high tides,” said David Sweet, NOAA meteorologist.

We won’t see rain but it will be cold for the next seven days with the highs in the range of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows in the mid 40s.

That cold is a good thing because it will keep the snowpack in place … at least a little longer.

“Now that we have the wonderful snowpack in the Sierras we want it to stay [so we can] go into the dry season with a healthy snowpack,” he said.