Return of the Green Comet

Many now call it the “green comet” – no C/2022 E3 (ZTF)Its real name – because of the green color given to it, in the images, by the clouds of carbon gas that escape from its core due to the heat of the sun.

It is called C/2022 E3 (ZTF) because it is the third comet discovered during the “E” period (the first half of March) of 2022, by an instrument called the ZTF (ZTF).Zwicky Transit Facility), installed at the Mount Palomar Observatory in California. It’s a camera with a wide enough field of view to scan the entire northern hemisphere sky every two days.

How to view C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

In March 2022, this comet was already closer to the Sun than Jupiter (600 million km), and was 25,000 times less visible than the star least visible to the naked eye, the ZTF team estimated in the first era. On January 12, it passed near the Sun. So it’s in the process of moving away from it and in that vein, on February 1st, it’ll be at our closest point.

Although it is said to be “barely” visible to the naked eye, it is Still a littleprovided that Get away from the city lights. You need to look to the north, approximately in the direction of the North Star: in the last days of January it will be about halfway Between the “cup” of the Big Dipper and the North Star. One Astronomy programme Depending on where you are, you can help locate them by searching for them by their real name.

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It will be lower on the horizon in the early evening, so chances of seeing it may be higher a few hours later. But either way, for anyone living north of 35 degrees latitude, it’s been in the sky somewhere almost all night since Jan. 22.

Since that is the case, All astronomers interviewed about it recently Advise fans To arm yourself with binoculars, however modest…and a little patience: the moon is waxing, and the light reflecting off the sun can damage observations.

Where does this comet come from?

Its very long trajectory indicates that it comes from the Oort Cloud, this massive expanse beyond the boundaries of our solar system. By looking at the distance this represents, astronomers estimate that his last visit to our ocean could date back as far as 50,000 years ago. However, this is a very rough estimate; And as to its future trajectory, taking into account how close this orbit will be to the Sun – and the greater gravity it will give – There is a possibility His next visit will be a million years from now. Or even that the comet escapes the gravity of our sun and continues its path towards the stars.

green color It is not a unique phenomenon For this visitor: On the one hand, the comet is above all a great ball of snow, and every time one comes close to the sun, the heat melts part of it, causing clouds of gases. On the other hand, comets are partially composed of diatomic carbon (C2, or two carbon atoms bonded together), and this is what gives off the green color when the gas escapes.

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Banner photo: Comet on December 24, by Dan Bartlett

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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