On Wednesday (Dec. 1), comets that haven’t visited Earth since the last ice age and Neanderthal times will make their closest approach to our planet, or perigee.
Excitingly, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which last passed through the inner solar system about 50,000 years ago, will be very bright at this time and even visible to the naked eye under the right conditions. A comet should be observable during the day when it approaches our planet and then recedes on its way to the outer solar system.
During the comet’s perigee, it will come within a distance of about 26 million miles (42 million miles) from our planet, which is equivalent to about 28% of the distance between Earth and the sun. If you’ve been waiting to see it at C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before flying over, now’s your best chance.
Related: How to see the green comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) visible in the night sky as it approaches Earth
Second Even in the air (Opens in a new tab) from New York City C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is circumpolar, meaning it is permanently above the horizon, and is therefore visible most of the night. It will appear in the constellation Camelopardus with the perigee, a large but faint area of sky devoid of bright stars and located near the northern celestial pole.
The comet will appear around 6:49 pm EST (2349 GMT) on Wednesday (Feb. 1) when it will be 49 degrees above the northern horizon. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will rise to its highest point in the sky, 58 degrees above the northern horizon, around 9:46 pm EST (0246 GMT). Following this at dawn around 5:57 am EST (1057 GMT) on February 2. it will disappear while about 30 degrees above the horizon to the north.
The comet will remain visible through early February, and will finally appear to observers on the southern horizon this month. C/2022 E3 (ZTF) can be seen with the naked eye but is easier to spot with binoculars or a telescope. The easiest time to spot it is on Sunday (Feb. 5) when the comet is next to the bright star Capella in the constellation Auriga, or between Feb. 9 and 13 Feb. when it will shine near Mars in the constellation Taurus.
If you want to observe C/2022 E3 (ZTF), our guides to the best telescopes and the best binoculars are a great place to start. If you’re looking to capture images of the night sky, check out our guide to how to photograph the moon, and the best astrophotography cameras and best astrophotography lenses.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) approached the sun, its perihelion, on January 12, coming within 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) before heading toward Earth.
The orbital period of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is 50,000 second years NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) (Opens in a new tab)that is the last time that our planet was so close to Earth or the Sun was in the middle of the last glacial period or “ice age” and the Neanderthals still interacted with our first ancestors, the first wise man.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was first detected in March 2022 by the wide field survey camera at the Zwicky passing easier within the circle of the groves. Astronomers initially suspected it was an asteroid, but C/2022 E3 (ZTF) soon began to brighten as it approached the sun.
This is the behavior of comets as they approach the sun and are heated by radiation from our star, as the material on the surface transforms from solid ice to gas in a process called sublimation. This demonstrated the true nature of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and indicated its potential visibility over Earth.
Editor’s Edition: If you snap Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) and would like to share it with Space.com readers, send your photo(s), comments, name and location to email@example.com.
#Comet #Green #C2022 #ZTF #closest #Earth #Feb #Heres