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A recently discovered comet will soon appear in the night sky for the first time in 50,000 years.
Discovered by astronomers using the Wide-Field Survey Camera at the Swicky Transient Facility at Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California on March 2, 2022, the comet will approach the Sun on January 12. NASA.
Named C/2022 E3 (ZTF)The comet has an orbit around the Sun that passes through the outer reaches of the Solar System, which is why it took such a long trip — and so long — to swing back by Earth. Planetary association.
Skygazers in the Northern Hemisphere using binoculars and binoculars should look low on the northeastern horizon shortly before midnight to spot it on January 12. Earthsky.
As the comet approaches Earth — the icy celestial body that brightens steadily as it approaches the Sun — then passes closest to Earth at a distance of 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) between February 1 and February 2. , observers can spot it near the bright star Polaris, also known as the North Star, and is visible earlier in the evening.
According to NASA, skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere will be able to see the comet through binoculars in the morning sky during most of January and early February for those in the Southern Hemisphere.
Depending on how bright it gets in the coming weeks, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be visible to the unaided eye in dark skies at the end of January.
Comets can be distinguished from stars by their tails of dust and energetic particles and by the glowing green coma around them. A coma is an envelope that forms around a comet as it approaches the Sun, causing its ice to rise or directly turn into gas. This makes the comet appear blurry when viewed through binoculars.
And don’t miss out Other Celestial Events to Watch for in 2023.