A comet doesn’t pass by every day. What you see in the sky these days traveled for 50,000 years before being seen. It is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and was discovered on March 2, 2022, coming from the outermost regions of the Solar System. It was found by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a research program carried out with the 120 cm Schmidt telescope of the Monte Palomar Observatory. Every two days, explain theUnion of Italian Astronomers, scanning the whole sky thanks to a camera made with a mosaic of CCDs, Charge-Coupled Device, which frames a field of almost seven degrees. The comet has a strange appearance with two tails of dust and gas oriented in the sky in a very distinct way.
times and ways
On January 12, it will be at a distance of 116 million kilometers from the Sun. On February 2, however, it will be at the minimum distance from the Earth, 42 million kilometers. The comet could also be seen with the naked eye in the period of closest approach and perfect conditions such as high mountains and moonless sky, but before and after with binoculars or a small telescope.
The comet will be observable all night to the north. “The comet is now leaving the Corona Borealis and will cross the boundaries of the Dragon, Ursa Minor, Giraffe, Charioteer and Bull. A magnificent flight that will take it to transit about ten degrees from the North Star at the end of January. It will also pass near Capella around February 5 and Mars on the 11th of the same month», explains Giannantonio Milani of the UAI Comets Section.
To observe the tail clearly it is necessary a very clear sky and preferably away from light and air pollution. At the moment of closest approach, the luminosity of the coma will be distributed over a large surface and therefore not easily distinguishable from the Moon in the sky. The appearance may be that of a diffuse cloud brighter in the centre.
The most convenient tool is a binoculars, fixed on a tripod, preferably with an aperture of 70-80 mm or more. Of course, telescopes of all types operate at low magnifications, typically using a magnification equal to one-quarter the diameter of the telescope’s objective in millimeters.
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Source: Vanity Fair
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