The green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to Earth on February 1
On Wednesday (Feb. 1), a comet that hasn’t visited Earth since the last Ice Age and Neanderthal times will make its closest approach to our planet or perigee.
Exciting, the comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which last passed through the inner solar system about 50,000 years ago, will be at its brightest during this period and even visible to the naked eye under the right conditions. The comet should be observable for days as it approaches our planet and then recedes on its way to the outside world solar system.
During the comet’s perigee, it will come within about 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) of our planet, which is about 28% of the distance between Earth and Earth. the sun. If you’ve been waiting to check out C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before it goes away soon, now’s your best bet.
Related: How green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is visible in the night sky as it approaches Earth
According to In the air, (opens in new tab) New York City’s C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is circumpolar, meaning it is permanently above the horizon and should therefore be visible for most of the night. It will be visible in the constellation Camelopardalis at perigee, a large but faint region of the sky with no bright stars and close to the north celestial pole.
The comet will become visible on Wednesday (February 1) around 6:49 p.m. EST (2349 GMT), when it will be 49 degrees above the northern horizon. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) climbs to the highest point in the sky, 58 degrees above the northern horizon, around 9:46 p.m. EST (0246 GMT). After that, it will fade into the morning light around 5:57 a.m. EST (1057 GMT) on February 2, hovering about 30 degrees above the horizon to the north.
The comet will remain visible through early February and will finally become visible to observers on the southern horizon this month. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may be visible to the naked eye, but should be easier to see with binoculars or a telescope. The easiest time to see it is on Sunday (Feb. 5) when the comet next to the bright star Capella in the Constellation driveror between February 9 and February 13 when it will shine near Mars in the Taurus zodiac sign.
If you’re hoping to observe C/2022 E3 (ZTF), our guides to the best telescopes and best binoculars are a great place to start. If you want to take pictures of the night sky, check out our guide at how to photograph the moonas well as ours best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has made its name close to the sunits perihelion, on January 12 when it passed within 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) of our star before heading toward Earth.
The orbital period of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) (opens in new tab)meaning the last time it came 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.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first identified in March 2022 by the wide-field survey camera on the Zwicky temporary facility within the orbit of Jupiter. Astronomers initially suspected it to be an asteroid, but C/2022 E3 (ZTF) soon began to brighten as it approached the sun.
This is a behavior that comets exhibit as they approach the sun and are heated by radiation from our star, changing the material on their surfaces from solid ice to gas in a process called sublimation. This indicated the true nature of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and indicated its potential visibility above Earth.
Editor’s Note: If you captured Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, and name and location to [email protected]
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