The new year has just begun, but space is already preparing to make history in 2023. Discovered less than a year ago, the comet has traveled billions of miles from its origin at the edge of our solar system and will be visible for just a few minutes. it would be his only recorded appearance for several weeks.
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first observed in March 2022 as it passed Jupiter. According to NASA, it’s a long-period comet believed to have come from the Oort Cloud, the farthest region of Earth’s solar system, and “looks like a large, thick-walled bubble of icy chunks of space debris” that could grow larger. mountains. The inner edge of this region is thought to be between 2,000 and 5,000 astronomical units (AU)—between 186 billion and 465 billion miles—from the Sun.
This means that C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has made a rare, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Earth.
“Most known long-period comets have only been seen once in recorded history because of their orbital periods. long,” says NASA. “Countless more unknown long-duration comets have never been seen by the human eye. “Some have orbits so long that our species did not exist the last time they passed through the inner solar system.”
One new comet of this type, C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, has previously visited the inner Solar System and It approached Mars in 2014but it won’t return for about 740,000 years, according to the Space Agency.
This was reported by Jessica Lee, an astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory Newsweek Comet E3 may have a similar situation.
“We don’t yet have an estimate of the furthest it will get from Earth—estimates vary—but if it does come back, it won’t be for at least 50,000 years,” he said. “…Some predictions suggest that this comet’s orbit is so eccentric that it’s no longer in orbit, so it won’t come back at all and just keep going.”
Now, the recently discovered comet E3 has been seen with a bright greenish coma and a “short broad” dust tail, is defined make its closest approach to the sun On January 12, it will make its closest approach to Earth on February 2.
Astrophotographer Dan Bartlett was able to photograph the comet from his California backyard in December. He said he could see a “complex tail structure” in the comet’s plasma tail and that “conditions are improving.”
If all goes well and the comet continues on its current brightness trend, NASA says it will be easily detectable with binoculars. It is also possible to see it with the naked eye away from city lights. Those in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see the comet in the morning during January, and those in the Southern Hemisphere will be able to see it in early February, NASA said.
“This comet is not expected to be a complete spectacle like comet NEOWISE’s return in 2020,” the agency added. “But it’s still a great opportunity to make a personal connection with an icy visitor from a distant solar system.”
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