January 27, 2023

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It’s getting close to the ground. This is the only chance in my life to see her

Astronomers said the newly discovered comet could be visible to the naked eye as it flew near Earth in a few weeks. It will be a once in a lifetime chance to see it – another chance in 50,000. years.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first spotted by astronomers last year near Jupiter. Now, after a long journey, it is approaching Earth. Currently, the point of brightness can be observed with the help of telescopes, but at the turn of January and February it will be possible to see it with the naked eye over Poland, if the weather conditions are good.

The comet is composed of ice and dust and emits a green halo, about one kilometer wide and has gone inland Solar System maybe with Oort cloud. Small objects of this size are rarely seen in the sky without specialized instruments, but C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will get close enough to Earth that it should compensate for the comet’s small size.

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Burning fireball. They accidentally recorded a meteor above them

Astronomers do not doubt that it will be an unusual sight, as when the comet approaches Earth, it will be “the brightest point in the sky,” according to the words. Nicolas Biver, astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory. They also maintain that this is the only chance in a lifetime to be able to look at a comet. It is estimated that the object orbits the sun in 200 years, but it may take up to 50,000 years before it becomes visible over Poland again. years.

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The comet spent most of its life “at least 2,500 times the Earth’s distance from the Sun,” Thomas Prince explainedProfessor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. The last time a comet passed Earth was in the Upper Paleolithic, when Neanderthals still roamed the Earth. Prince added that this “rare visitor” would provide “information about what the solar system holds far beyond the planets we’ve discovered.”

When are you looking for Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)?

The brightest comet will be visible over Poland on February 1-2, and then it is also worth looking for it in the sky with the naked eye. Unfortunately, the observation may be interrupted by the moon, which will slowly approach the next full moon (February 5). However, astronomers believe that there is a high probability that the comet will be visible with ordinary binoculars until February 10th. However, if you have a telescope, you can look for a bright object in the sky from around January 20th.

Klaudia Stawska, WP Tech Fellow