Posted BY: Kara | NwoReport
A comet that last appeared in the night sky during the Ice Age will soon make a reappearance in February 2023, according to a NASA statement published last week.
Called the C/2022 E3 (ZTF) comet, it orbits the sun every 50,000 years. It will now pass within 26 million miles of Earth on February 1st, 2023.
It could also be visible to the naked eye in mid-to-late January. The comet can be seen using binoculars and low-level telescopes when the skies are clear.
A blue-green coma and a golden tail
Astronomers who have been tracking the E3 comet claim it has a blue-green coma and a golden tail. E3 was first discovered by astronomers Bryce Bolin and Frank Masci using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) survey on March 2nd 2022 and has since been photographed by astronomers at NASA.
“Since then the new long-period comet has brightened substantially and is now sweeping across the northern constellation Corona Borealis in predawn skies. It’s still too dim to see without a telescope though. But this fine telescopic image from December 19 does show the comet’s brighter greenish coma, short broad dust tail, and long faint ion tail stretching across a 2.5 degree wide field-of-view,” wrote NASA in its post about the famous comet.
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Comet 2022 E3 ZTF: https://t.co/56MTuNaP1U— Astronomy Picture Of The Day (@apod) December 24, 2022
“On a voyage through the inner Solar System comet 2022 E3 will be at perihelion, its closest to the Sun, in the new year on January 12 and at perigee, its closest to our fair planet, on February 1. The brightness of comets is notoriously unpredictable, but by then C/2022 E3 (ZTF) could become only just visible to the eye in dark night skies.”
Upon discovery, the comet had an apparent magnitude of 17.3 and was about 4.3 AU (640 million km) from the Sun.