A comet not seen in 50,000 years is already putting on a show as it approaches Earth – Enseñame de Ciencia
The newly discovered comet begins to appear exactly 50,00 years later as it approaches the Earth and the Sun. With a bit of luck, a comet identified as C/2022 E3 (ZFT) could be bright enough to see with the naked eye! Prepare everything, because the comet’s next visit to the inner solar system will be in another 50,000 years.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is passing through the inner solar system and will pass near Earth from January to February, when it can become a juicy celestial body for sky-seekers. Perihelion will be about 100 million miles from the Sun on January 12, 2023, and it will be 26 million miles from Earth on February 2. The best chance to see it may be at the end of January and the first days of February.
Right now, it’s still a long way from becoming a microscope or naked-eye object, though powerful telescopes can spot it. Space.com science website He recently shared stunning images of comet C/2022 E3 (ZFT) as it approached Earth.
The image below was taken by John Chumack of GalacticImages.com. Shumack wrote that the comet was “estimated to have a magnitude of 11.00, its tail definitely visible, and 2.5 arcminutes of green coma.”
This other image of comet C/2022 E3 ZTF was taken by Chris Shore. The image, the author writes, is a “really deep, hour-and-a-half exposure of the comet, wonderfully showing off the colors of the dust tail and long tail of tortured gas.”
For this third image, Dr. Kamal Jabbour writes that this image of comet C/2022 E3 ZTF “was taken by the Stellina telescope at the Rooster N Observatory in Pompeii, New York on January 6, 2023 at 0500 EST.”
According to NASA C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first seen in March last year, when it was already within Jupiter’s orbit. Its closest approach to the Sun will occur on January 12th and its closest approach to Earth on February 2nd. The brightness of comets is unpredictable, so they may be greatly increased in brightness to make it easier to see.
We don’t know exactly when the best time to see it will be since comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if C/2022 E3 continues its current brightness trend it will be easy to see with binoculars, and it could be. visible to the naked eye in a dark sky. Northern Hemisphere observers will find the comet in the morning sky as it moves rapidly northwestward during January. (It will be visible in the Southern Hemisphere in early February). It remains a wonderful opportunity to make personal contact with an icy visitor from the distant outer sun system.”
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