Community gathers to view rare comet


Alex Sorto

Second-year astronomy student Zoe Brunton uses a telescope at a comet viewing party on Saturday.

Alex Sorto, Reporter

Students, staff and local community members gathered to see a once-in-a-lifetime comet pass through the solar system at the college on Saturday.

The Super Science Club hosted the event at the AACC Observatory to view the comet, named C/2022 E3, which was last seen 50,000 years ago.

“It’s just a really inspiring thing to get to see,” Zoe Brunton, a second-year astronomy student and organizer of the event, said. “There’s something really incredible about the scale of the universe. It’s like the ultimate science, because there’s always more to learn. We only know where 5% of it is.”

According to NASA, comets are massive chunks of gas, dust and rocks left over from the formation of the solar system. When they get close to the sun, they heat up and start evaporating, which forms a glowing halo and tail.

Effie Gentry, a first-year transfer studies student and member of the Super Science Club, said she “goes out of her way” to attend events like the comet viewing.

“[Astronomy] puts in perspective our position in the universe and how everything is connected,” Gentry said. “It’s beautiful.”

Deborah Levine, an astronomy professor and an adviser for the Super Science Club, said an event like the comet passing by is a “rare” occurrence.

“[A comet] that is potentially visible with just your eye like this one–this is, I think, the second … or third one in my lifetime,” Levine said.

Second-year transfer studies student Will Mumford said everyone should go to events like this.

“It’s interesting to just see something that, like, so few people have seen, you know?” Mumford said. “It’s not gonna be here for so long.”