February 6, 2023

Comet will cross Earth’s sky after 50,000 years – 01/07/2023 – Science

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will cross Earth’s sky again after 50,000 years since its last visit and will be visible to the naked eye later this month.

The small, icy, rocky object is just a kilometer in diameter and was discovered in March 2022 by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) program, which operates the Samuel-Oschin telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, we.

50,000 years ago, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) visited the inner solar system and passed close to Earth. It was discovered back in the path orbit of Jupiter This week will pass near the sun.

You are Astronomy scientistsWhich calculated its trajectory after months of observation, and indicated that it will reach perihelion, the closest point to the sun, next Thursday (12).

When a comet approaches the Sun, the ice in its core changes to a gaseous state and releases a long tail that reflects the star’s light.

This bright phenomenon is what we will see from Earth, initially in the Northern Hemisphere, as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) approaches.

The comet will shine in all its splendor “when it’s closest to Earth,” says Caltech physics professor Thomas Prince, who works on the ZTF.

However, it will be less exciting than Comet Hale-Bopp (1997) or Comet Neues (2020), which were much larger.

The space object can be seen at night with good glasses or even with the naked eye, as long as the sky is clear, there is no light pollution and brightness Moon It doesn’t matter.

“Maybe we’re lucky and its brightness is twice as bright as expected,” says Nicolas Biver, an astrophysicist at the Paris-PSL Observatory.

best observation period

The best observation period would be the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of this month and the following week.

During this time, it will pass between the constellations Ursa Minor and Ursa Major. Later, it can be seen in the southern hemisphere to then leave for the borders of the solar system, where it was most likely born.

According to current models, comets come from either the Kuiper Belt, which lies beyond the orbit of Neptune, or from the Oort Cloud, a vast region about light-years from the Sun, at the boundary of its gravitational field.

This comet “originally comes from the Oort Cloud,” according to Beaver when considering its orbit. This time, he adds, it will likely “exit the solar system once and for all.”

Preparations for watching them have been completed, and scientists hope to learn more about the formation of comets, thanks in particular to the powerful James Space Telescope web.

“We will observe from all sides. It is not the comet of the century, but we are happy to be able to see such comets every year or two, as we consider them remnants of the formation of the solar system,” the astrophysicist said.