Comet C2022 E3 (ZTF) will fly by Earth in the coming weeks

(ORDO NEWS) — The newly discovered comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will fly past Earth and the Sun in the coming weeks, astronomers say. This will happen for the first time in 50,000 years.

The comet has been named C/2022 E3 (ZTF) after a Zwicky Transient Facility survey that spotted it as it passed Jupiter last March.

The comet will fly past the Sun on January 12, and approach Earth as close as possible on February 1.

It should be easy to see with good binoculars and probably even with the naked eye, provided the sky isn’t overly lit by street lights or the moon.

According to Nicholas Beaver, an astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory, the comet, composed of ice and dust, has a diameter of about a kilometer.

It is significantly smaller than Comet NEOWISE, which passed Earth in March 2020, and Comet Hale-Bopp, which passed Earth in 1997.

The comet will be at its brightest in early February as it approaches Earth. However, a full moon can make it difficult to see.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the comet will be easier to see in the last week of January, when it passes between the constellations Ursa Minor and Ursa Major.

The new moon on the weekend of January 21-22 will provide an excellent opportunity to consider it.

Another opportunity to spot the comet in the sky will come on February 10, when it passes close to Mars.

Nicholas Beaver said that the comet came from the Oort cloud that surrounds the solar system. The last time it flew past Earth was during the Upper Paleolithic, when Neanderthals were still roaming the Earth.

The comet’s next visit to the inner solar system is expected in another 50,000 years, but there is a possibility that after this February visit, the comet will be permanently ejected from the solar system.

The comet will be observed by the James Webb Space Telescope. He will not take pictures, but will study its composition.


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