With a beautiful green glow, comet ZTF, or C/2022 E3 (ZTF), shines in the sky throughout the night at this time, without ever setting. It is clearly visible to the naked eye among the circumpolar constellations. This 1is February, the star passes closest to the Earth. It’s now or never to observe it because, according to forecasts, it should no longer return to our vicinity.
For about ten days the cometcomet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), alias comet ZTF, has exceeded the limit of visibility ateyeeye not (magnitudemagnitude 6) and shines at a magnitude close to 5, depending on the activity of its nucleus, hidden under the thick hazehaze which envelops it.
On January 12, the comet was at perihelionperihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun. Warmed in the central region of the Solar systemSolar system and from our neighborhood that it has not crossed for 50,000 years, it is transformed from the inside and on the surface before our eyes, with sometimes sudden eruptions which heighten its brilliance. Closely followed by many astrophotographers, comet ZTF sports a resplendent halo, its coma or hair, green and distinct tails. One more bluish, fine and extensive, gazgaz sublimated, and the other, more diluted and fan-shaped, made up of dust formerly trapped in its ice formed 4.6 billion years ago. In recent days, the comet also exhibited an “anti-tail” (see some photos). A tail which naturally should not exist, because it stretches in the direction of the Sun, which is not possible (this hunts the mattermatter expelled by the comet in the other direction). It is actually an optical effect produced by the fact that the Earth cuts the plane of the comet’s orbit around the Sun.
Comet ZTF is closest to Earth on February 1
As of now, comet ZTF is to be looked for in the sky as soon as dusk is above the northern horizon. It gains height during the night and only disappears from the sky with the arrival of the Sun. It moves within the circumpolar constellation of the Dragon before migrating into Ursa Minor and its famous North StarNorth Star (it seems not to move in the sky, because very close to the celestial North Pole). 1is February, the green comet will be closest to Earth, about 42 million kilometers from our eyes. It’s the perigeeperigee. She continues her journey through the constellation of the GiraffeGiraffe before joining the Coachman and the brilliant Capella, near the zenithzenithFebruary 4.
We can admire it with the naked eye now but if you have a pair of binoculars, you will enjoy the beautiful sight of this even more. starstar green and diffuse glow. By going out to watch it every evening, you will have the pleasure of contemplating its evolution with its ups and downs of activity.
Another beautiful and great moment awaits us with comet ZTF: its passage (visually speaking) near Mars, in Taurus, on February 11, followed three days later, on the evening of Valentine’s Day, by a visit to Aldebaran, the red eye of the bovid. Beautiful appointments in perspective for all lovers of celestial spectacles.
Article of Xavier DemeersmanXavier Demeersman published on January 12, 2023
Named C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and discovered 10 months ago, comet ZTF (for short) passes closest to the Sun on January 12. Its activity is about to peak and makes it almost visible to the naked eye. The conditions for its observation are more and more favorable as it approaches the Earth. A surprise show not to be missed in the beautiful nights ofwinterwinter. Here is all you need to know.
It is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and it has been 50,000 years since it passed through the inner Solar System and the vicinity of the Earth. This January 12, the comet is at perihelion, the point of its orbit closest to the Sun, at 164.7 million kilometers (1.1 astronomical unitastronomical unit or AU). This is a little more than the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Its journey through the hottest region of the Solar System is not without consequences for this “dirty snowball” whoseintegrityintegrity is jostled by higher temperatures and the solar wind. All this transforms her and causes spectacular jerksjerks of activity including specialists and astronomersastronomers amateurs have been the witnesses for several weeks (photos above and below).
Many are confident that the comet will become visible to the naked eye any day now as it closes in on Earth. It’s the 1is next February that C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will reach the point of its orbit closest to our Planet. It will only be 0.28 AU, or a little less than 42 million kilometers. On January 12, its magnitude is 6.5 and is almost visible to the naked eye. Her brightnessbrightness could grow up to magnitude 5, which would make it easily discernible without an instrument. In the meantime, it is already possible to admire it in a simple pair of binoculars and of course through larger instruments (sunglasses, telescopetelescope). As always, comets can be full of surprises and their activity suddenly decreases or, on the contrary, intensifies more than expected. And C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is on track to deliver on those promises.
Where is comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)?
If C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is so called, it is because it was detected in March 2022 by the cameras of a wide field survey of the sky called ZTF, Zwicky Transient Facility. This January 12, you can surprise her between the constellationsconstellations of Hercules and Corona Borealis after 2 a.m. To see it at dusk you will have to wait a few days, around January 21. The comet emerges above the northeast horizon earlier and earlier as it migrates towards the Pole Star, and the circumpolar constellations of the Dragon, the Little Dipper and finally the Giraffe, at the time perigee (shortest distance from the Earth). The comet will therefore soon be circumpolar, which means visible all night, circling around the North Star. Also note in your diaries, its visual rapprochement with Mars on February 11. It will be a magnificent meeting that astrophotographers will not miss.
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