TEMPO.CO, Jakarta Comet C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) or better known as K2, is crossing Earth. The comet is believed to have come from a location in the outer part of the Solar System called the Oort Cloud.
The comet’s initial C is non-periodic, the number 2017 indicates the year it was discovered, and the combination of letters and numbers K2 indicates the order in which it was discovered in 2017.
“This comet will make its closest approach to Earth on July 13, 2022, at nearly twice the distance from the Sun to Earth. Currently, K2 is moving toward its closest distance from the Sun, which is expected in December of this year,” says National Research And Innovation Agency (BRIN) researcher Abdul Rachman said in his statement as coordinator of the Kupang National Observatory Management Center (BPON). , Monday, July 25, 2022.
“Since it belongs to the group of non-periodic comets, K2 does not regularly pass near Earth as do periodic comets such as Halley’s Comet, which have a period of about 83 years, so it is not known whether it will return to Earth again. When will it pass by? He added.
got it early
Abdul said that comet K2 was discovered by a comet monitoring system called Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PanSTARRS) located in Hawaii on May 21, 2017. The comet is believed to have originated from the Oort Cloud, a collection of objects in the outermost part of the Solar System.
When it passes closest to Earth, K2 displays a dust tail and a gas tail. The closer to the Sun, the more clearly the tail of the gas will be visible.
When passing close to Earth, K2 can only be seen when you use a telescope, especially because it coincides with the full moon. However, as the comet gets closer to the Sun, it can be seen with binoculars. On a clear night there is an opportunity to see the comet in all areas of the Earth’s surface.
“K2 can be observed for several months, especially as the comet passes near Earth, en route to its closest point to the Sun, and for several months thereafter.”
The possibility of a comet falling to Earth can be studied through research into the phenomenon of a comet passing by the Earth. In the case of K2, the comet passed Earth at a distance of more than 270 million kilometers so that it had no effect on Earth. And because it is far enough away from Earth, which is almost twice Earth’s distance from the Sun, there is no negative effect.
“Comet K2 on BPON was observed for several days from July 13 to 16, 2022 at the Olanasi Village Operations Office and Science Center. Observations were carried out for several hours every day. The data collected was used not only for research purposes, but it can also be used for astrophotography,” Abdul said.
For the K2 observations, a telescope is used which uses a mirror measuring 25 cm and a CCD detector is used which is equipped with several color filters.
The head of the Center for Space Research, Emanuel Sunging, said the observational data could be used for research not only by BRAIN researchers, but also by all those involved in studying the dynamics of objects in the Solar System. has an interest in.
“From the observable incarnations of the comet’s two tails (dust and gas), it is possible to gain an understanding of the comet’s intrinsic properties, as well as what the space weather conditions were like at that time. In addition, from the comet’s visit, at least Until December 2022,” Emanuel explained.
He also invited to watch the continuation of K2’s life. The possibility of ending its life by colliding with the Sun or continuing its trajectory through the Solar System. The next question is his journey into the future if he leaves the Solar System.
interesting natural phenomenon
It is a rare event to see a comet passing through Earth in space. Compared to lunar eclipses, solar eclipses that occur more often, this rare event occur only over a few years or decades.
Comets are members of the Solar System that, like Earth, orbit the Sun, which is on its way from the outer Solar System (outer solar system) for regions within the Solar System (inner solar system), just crossed the earth.
The passing of the comet is a good opportunity for scientists to observe the comet more closely and for astrophotography workers to photograph it. Each comet has a peculiarity that is interesting to study scientifically and capture its presence through camera shots.
“The biggest hope from such small observations is to provide insight and information to Indonesians, that Indonesians already have an astronomical observatory in the East Nusa Tenggara region that can be used for space research with Brin , he hoped.
129 kilometers, the core of the comet is certainly the largest ever seen