February 1, 2023

The comet is approaching Earth after 50,000 years and can be seen with the naked eye from Brazil; know when

One Comet named C/2022 E3 (ZTF)that crossed the orbit a land For the last time 50,000 years ago – when the planet was still inhabited by Neanderthals – it will approach again at the end of January, US space agency (NASA). The star is already there Solar System It will reach perihelion – the point closest to sun – This Thursday the 12th. In Brazil, it can be seen with the naked eye from the beginning of Februarycounts National Astronomical Observatory.

The rocky and icy body, which is considered small by astronomical standards, has One kilometer in diameter It was discovered in March 2022 on its way to orbit Jupiter Through the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) program, which operates the Samuel-Oschin telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California (USA).

It has been observed for months and its trajectory has been calculated to understand when it should approach Earth. The conclusion was that it would be visible between the end of January and the beginning of February, depending on where you are in the world.

Felipe Montero, post-doctor at the National Observatory, explains that it is possible to know when a comet will pass and when it last passed through Earth via Its orbital period accounts (The time it takes for one astronomical body to complete an orbit around another body).

The astronomer says that many long-period comets – such as C / 2022 E3 (ZTF) – known so far have only been seen once in history, as their orbital periods are more than 200 years, and some of them took 100 thousand to 1 million years to orbit the sun. .

A telescopic view of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) from December 2022. take photo: Dan Bartlett/NASA via AFP

When a comet approaches the sun, the ice in its core changes to a gaseous state and releases a The long tail reflects the light of the Star King.. This bright phenomenon is what we will see from Earth, starting in the Northern Hemisphere, as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) approaches.

Caltech physics professor Thomas Prince, who works on ZTF, explained that the comet will shine in all its splendor “when it’s closest to Earth.” However, their passage should be less exciting than that of comets. Hellbop (1997) And Newice (2020)which was much larger.

Preparations for the reflection of its approaching passage to Earth are already being completed by scientists, who hope to learn more about the formation of comets with it using the powerful. James Webb Space Telescope for close observation.

“We will be watching from all sides. It is not the comet of the century, but we are happy to be able to observe such comets every year or two, as we consider them traces of the formation of the solar system, “explains astrophysicist at the Paris-PSL Observatory Nicolas Biver

the star It can be seen at night even with the naked eyeAs long as the sky is clear, there is no light pollution or brightness Moon Scientists say don’t hurt your eyes. “Maybe we get lucky and it’s twice as bright as expected,” Beaver says.

The best observation period in Brazil will be from February 4th. “As the days go by, the comet will be seen higher in the sky with a longer view,” the National Observatory tells. During this period, it will pass north and under the star of the Cape.

It continues after the announcement

Before that, between January 21 and 22, the comet will pass between the planets Ursa Minor and Ursa Major, when it can be seen with the naked eye in the northern hemisphere, in the region of the United States.

According to current scientific studies, comets come from either Kuiper beltlocated outside the orbit of Neptune, or Oort clouda vast region located approximately a light-year from the Sun, at the edge of its gravitational field.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF) “originally comes from the Oort Cloud,” according to Beaver, when looking at its orbit. And this time, it will likely “leave the solar system forever,” he said. / With information from AFP