-1.5 C
New York

Stargazers may have a likelihood to see a recent comet at the tip of January

Published:

It’s hardly ever that stargazers get the chance to identify a comet with the naked eye.

But at the tip of this month – or possibly the beginning of February – a newly-discovered space rock will whizz by our planet and light-weight up the night sky.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered in March last yr while inside Jupiter’s orbit, and can make its closest approach to the sun on January 12 and Earth on February 2.

Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but when this one continues its current trend in brightness it ought to be easy to identify with binoculars or a telescope.

Look up this month! C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which was discovered in March last yr while inside Jupiter’s orbit, will make its closest approach to the sun on January 12 and Earth on February 2 

KEY FACTS: COMET C/2022 E3

Last visible from Earth: The Ice Age

Closest approach to the sun: January 12

Closest approach to Earth: February 2

Next visible: 50,000 years time

Distance at closest approach: 26.4 million miles (42.5 million kilometres) from Earth

Discovered: March 2022

Spotted by: The Zwicky Transient Facility in California

Will it’s visible to the naked eye? Possibly

Where to look: Within the morning sky, to the northeast

Higher still, it might even be visible to the naked eye if skies are dark towards the tip of the month.

If that’s the case it can be the primary comet that could be seen with the unaided eye since NEOWISE raced past Earth in 2020, even though it won’t be anywhere near as spectacular.

NEOWISE left an extended, misty tail, while E3 is prone to appear as a gray streak or smudge within the night sky.

Nonetheless, neither match the brightness of Hale-Bopp, which was widely seen in 1997.

Astronomers don’t expect Comet C/2022 E3 to go to Earth again for not less than one other 50,000 years, having last been visible through the Ice Age.

When it comes to passing our planet, it won’t be in any way close. In actual fact, the closest it can come to Earth is 26.4 million miles (42.5 million kilometres) on February 2.

Observers within the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet within the morning sky, because it moves swiftly from the northeast to northwest and passes between the Little and Big Dippers during January.

‘This comet is not expected to be quite the spectacle that Comet NEOWISE was back in 2020,’ Preston Dyches from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a video shared by the US space agency.

‘However it’s still an awesome opportunity to make a private reference to an icy visitor from the distant outer solar system.’ 

Stargazers within the Southern Hemisphere may have to attend slightly longer to catch a glimpse, nonetheless, as Comet C/2022 E3 won’t be visible for them until early February.

In March 2022, astronomers discovered the brand new space rock using the wide-field survey camera on the Zwicky Transient Facility in California.

Since then, the brand new long-period comet has brightened substantially and is now sweeping across the northern constellation Corona Borealis in predawn skies. 

At the tip of last yr, scientists snapped the primary detailed photo revealing the brand new Comet C/2022 E3’s brighter greenish coma and a yellowy dust tail. 

Comets are product of ice, gas and rock – often described as giant space icebergs – that are likely to originate within the outer solar system and move in on an extended orbit.

Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness it should be easy to spot with binoculars or a telescope

Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but when this one continues its current trend in brightness it ought to be easy to identify with binoculars or a telescope

Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet in the morning sky, as it moves swiftly from the northeast to northwest and passes between the Little and Big Dippers during January

Observers within the Northern Hemisphere will find the comet within the morning sky, because it moves swiftly from the northeast to northwest and passes between the Little and Big Dippers during January

In March 2022, astronomers discovered the new space rock using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. It is pictured here in the centre of this image

In March 2022, astronomers discovered the brand new space rock using the wide-field survey camera on the Zwicky Transient Facility in California. It’s pictured here within the centre of this image

The opposite major variety of space rock, called asteroids, are likely to be product of metal or rock and might come from anywhere within the solar system — including a big grouping of asteroids situated between Mars and Jupiter.

Comet Neowise was first spotted by — and named after — NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) space telescope in March 2020.

The icy body then became visible from the Earth’s surface from the northern hemisphere for a short time in the summertime of that yr as its proximity to the sun caused it to melt, unleashing tails of dust and gas behind it.

During its closest approach on July 23, 2020, it was still 64 million miles from the planet. 

It then headed back out to space at around 144,000 miles per hour and won’t to return for some 7,000 years.

The comet reaches the sun this month, before looping around and making its closest approach to Earth

The comet reaches the sun this month, before looping around and making its closest approach to Earth

The comet NEOWISE is pictured over Lebanon in an image shared by NASA back in 2020

The comet NEOWISE is pictured over Lebanon in a picture shared by NASA back in 2020

When you enjoyed this text…

Water worlds and a gas giant ‘within the womb’ are among the many strange recent exoplanets discovered in 2022 

Comet ATLAS could also be a remnant of a mysterious fireball that swept inside 23 million miles of the sun 5,000 years ago, study finds 

NASA is asking for help to save lots of Hubble by pushing it into a better orbit with a personal spacecraft

Explained: The difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks

An asteroid is a big chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are situated between Mars and Jupiter within the Principal Belt.

A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.

A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of sunshine within the atmosphere when debris burns up.

This debris itself is generally known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they’re vapourised within the atmosphere.

If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is known as a meteorite.

Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.

For instance, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up within the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.

sportinbits@gmail.com
sportinbits@gmail.comhttps://sportinbits.com
Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles

spot_img

Recent articles

spot_img