On Wednesday (February 1), a comet that has not come to Earth since the last Ice Age and Neanderthals will make its closest approach to our planet, i.e. perigee.
Interesting, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)It last passed through the inner Solar System about 50,000 years ago, during which time it will be at its brightest and can even be seen with the naked eye under the right conditions. The comet should be observed for days as it approaches our planet and then recedes outward. solar system.
At perigee, the comet will be about 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) from our planet, which is about 28% of the distance from Earth. the sun. If you’ve been waiting to get a glimpse of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before it loses momentum, now’s your best chance.
Related: How to see the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in the night sky as it approaches Earth now
according to in the sky (opens in new tab) New York City C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is circumpolar, meaning it is always above the horizon and should therefore be visible most of the night. It will appear in the constellation Camelopardalis when it is at perigee, a large but dim area of the sky devoid of bright stars and near the north celestial pole.
The comet will be 49 degrees above the northern horizon, visible around 6:49 p.m. EST (2349 GMT) on Wednesday (Feb. 1). C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will rise to its highest point in the sky at 58 degrees above the northern horizon at around 21:46 EST (0246 GMT). It will then disappear in the predawn light around 5:57 a.m. EST (1057 GMT) in February. 2. on the horizon about 30 degrees to the north.
The comet will be visible until early February, and will finally be visible to observers on the southern horizon this month. 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 may be on Sunday (February 5) when the comet is near the bright star Capella. Chariot constellationor when it will shine near Mars between February 9 and February 13 Taurus.
If you’re thinking of observing C/2022 E3 (ZTF), our guides the best telescopes and the best binoculars is a great place to start. If you want to take photos of the night sky, check out our guide how to draw a moonas well as ours The best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) did just that close approach to the sun, its perihelion, where Jan. 12, when it passes within 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) of our star before heading toward Earth.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has an orbital period of 50,000 years. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) (opens in new tab)that is, the last time it came this close to Earth or the Sun was when our planet was in the middle of the last ice age, or “ice age,” and Neanderthals were still sharing the planet with our first ancestors, the first homo sapiens.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first identified in March 2022 by the Wide Field Survey Camera. Zwicky Provisional Establishment in Jupiter’s orbit. At first, astronomers suspected it was 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 and the material on their surface turns from solid ice to gas in a process called sublimation. This hinted at the true nature of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and its potential appearance on Earth.
Editor’s note: If you photograph Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and want to share it with Space.com readers, send your photos, comments, name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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