On Wednesday, February 1, a comet that has not visited Earth since the last Ice Age and the time of the Neanderthals will make its closest approach to our planet, perigee.
excitingly, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)Having last passed through the inner solar system about 50,000 years ago, it will be at its brightest during this time and may even be visible to the naked eye under the right conditions. As the comet approaches our planet, it should be observable for days and then recede towards the outside world. solar system.
During the comet’s perihelion, it will travel about 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) from our planet, equivalent to about 28% of the distance between Earth and Earth. Sun. If you’ve been waiting to take a look at the C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before speeding up, now is your best chance.
Related: How can I now see the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) appearing in the night sky as it approaches Earth?
According to this In the sky, (opens in new tab) C/2022 E3 (ZTF) from New York City is polar, meaning it is constantly above the horizon and should therefore be visible most of the night. In the constellation Camelopardalis, periphery will be visible, a large but faint area of sky devoid of bright stars and located near the north celestial pole.
The comet will become visible 49 degrees above the northern horizon around 18:49 EST (2349 GMT) on Wednesday, February 1. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will climb to its highest point in the sky around 21:46 EST (0246 GMT), 58 degrees above the northern horizon. Following this, it will disappear in the light of dawn around 05:57 EST (1057 GMT) on February 2. 2 when approximately 30 degrees above the horizon in the north.
The comet will remain visible until early February and will finally be visible to observers on the southern horizon this month. The C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is visible to the naked eye but should be easier to spot with binoculars or a telescope. The easiest time to spot it might be on Sunday, February 5, when the comet is next to Earth’s bright star Capella. Auriga constellationor when it will shine near Mars between February 9 and February 13 Taurus constellation.
If you’re hoping to observe C/2022 E3 (ZTF), best telescopes and best binoculars it’s a great place to start. If you want to take pictures of the night sky, check out our guide at: how to take moon photoalso our The best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) made getting close to the sunPerihelion, on January 12, when it passed within 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) of our star before setting out for Earth.
The orbital period of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is 50,000 years. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) (opens in new tab)that is, the last time it got this close to Earth or the sun, our planet was in the middle of the last ice age or “ice age,” and Neanderthals still shared the planet with our early ancestors, the first homo sapiens.
The C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first identified by the wide-area scanning camera in March 2022. Zwicky Temporary Facility Inside Jupiter’s orbit. Initially, astronomers suspected it was an asteroid, but C/2022 E3 (ZTF) soon began to glow as it approached the sun.
This is the behavior of comets as they approach the sun, and as they are heated by radiation from our star, the material on their surface changes from solid ice to gas in a process called sublimation. This pointed to the true nature of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and hinted at its potential visibility on Earth.
Editor’s Note: If you shoot comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name and location to email@example.com.
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