A comet will appear in the night sky for the first time since the last ice age, providing scientists with a look into the evolution of the solar system.
A bright green comet — called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) — will pass Earth for the first time in 50,000 years and will first pass the Sun, coming from the outer parts of the solar system, which is why it took thousands of years to return.
According to Space.
The comet will be closest to Earth on February 1, and closest to the sun on January 12, and although its brightness is unpredictable, by then it will only be visible to the naked eye in dark skies, according to NASA.
It’s heading north, heading toward the constellation Corona Borealis, so for those in the Northern Hemisphere, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be visible on January 12 between the stars Vega and Arcturus just before midnight with the help of telescopes and binoculars.
For first-time comet lovers, experts recommend looking on February 10 when the comet will be close to Mars, and for those who want to try to take a picture, the easiest way is to take long exposure photos of 20 to 30 seconds, potentially revealing a UFO with a tail, according to EarthSky.
The comet was discovered in March 2022 by astronomers using the Wide Field Survey Camera and the Samuel Oschin robotic telescope of the Zwicky Transit Facility in Southern California.
Where to watch
The Virtual Telescope Project will be hosting a live broadcast on their website and YouTube channel for perihelion (when it is closest to the Sun) and perihelion (when it is closest to Earth).
What needs to be learned
Dr. Roger Clark, chief scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, said he believes the comet “originated early in the history of the solar system.” Forbes. The outer parts of the solar system freeze, and because the comet is coming from this region, it will be composed of materials from this region, such as dust, water and carbon dioxide. As the comet approaches Earth and the Sun, scientists will be able to examine these components and learn about the evolution of the solar system 50,000 years ago, when the comet last arrived. Nicolas Biver, an astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory, told France 24 that the James Webb telescope will observe the comet, but will not take any pictures. Instead, it will examine the composition and determine the evolution of the solar system based on comets. Material. The sun’s heat melts the comet’s layers, so the closer we get to it, the better able scientists are to study its composition.
How comet C/2022 E3 (ztf) got its name
The comet was discovered by astronomers on March 2, 2022, and it was the third object found in the fifth half of the year. Semi-months are used in astronomy to separate the months into two parts: the first day through the fifteenth day, and the sixteenth day through the remainder of the month. Each half of the month is associated with a letter. For example, January 1st through January 15th is A, January 16th through January 31st is B, February 1st through February 15th is C and so on. When objects such as asteroids and comets are discovered, they are listed alphabetically to distinguish them when they were discovered. Therefore, March 2 falls in Region E, thus explaining 2022 E3. Since it was discovered at the Zwicky Transient Facility, that explains the (ZTF) part of the comet’s name, according to EarthSky.
Contrary to popular belief, comets are not fireballs flying across the sky. According to Clark, comets are “dirty balls of ice.” It is made up of several compounds, such as dry ice, mineral grains, and carbon dioxide. Most comets have two tails: a bluish dust tail and a yellowish ion tail. Comet tails always point away from the sun, according to the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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