Although dozens of comets come close to Earth a year, there are a few that are truly remarkable, such as the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) – discovered last March 2022 – that will fly past our planet. is filling and may be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.
In their January 2023 skywatching predictions, NASA and Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said that between January 12 and February 2, the comet will first approach the Sun and then go around Earth.
Initially thought to be an asteroid and later identified as a comet due to the surrounding gas cloud, the comet is currently 1.1 AU (astronomical units) from Earth; On February 1, this distance from Earth will decrease to 0.28 AU.
The term “near” is of course relative: 1 AU is equal to 149,597,870,700 m, i.e. the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. 0.28 AU is equal to about 40 million kilometres.
How to see Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)?
While there is no doubt that many skygazers will be attracted to try to spot the comet, whether or not to see it will depend on a number of factors, including location and light pollution from natural and man-made sources, it reports. Space.com.
According to JPL, sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see the comet in the morning sky in late January. Southern Hemisphere observers, for their part, will be able to see it as early as February. And if the comet still shines as brightly as it does now, it could be seen with the naked eye in dark skies.
“Comets are notoriously unpredictable,” JPL notes, “but if it continues its current bright trend, it will be easy to spot with binoculars, and it’s quite possible that it will be visible to the naked eye under dark skies.” Will give
According to the scientific media, the best time to see it would be after midnight or early morning before sunrise. But don’t worry if the conditions aren’t there to see it. The Virtual Telescope Project will offer a free live broadcast of the comet beginning January 12 at 11:00 p.m. EST (January 13 at 04:00 GMT).
According to NASA’s JPL, the comet has a period of about 50,000 years, which means the last humans to see C/2022 E3 (ZTF) were probably the first. a wise man Lived and Ice Age Neanderthals.