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After 50,000 years of orbit: Comet C/2022 E3 appears over Austria

After 50,000 years of orbit: Comet C/2022 E3 appears over Austria

After “Neowise” in the summer of 2020, a comet can now be seen again in the sky with binoculars and the naked eye. Matthias Fragner of the Styrian Astronomers Association reveals why you can see “C/2022 E3” best after the next new moon on January 21st.

Austria / Styria. Austrian astronomy fans are hectic these days A special celestial event Opposite: periodic Comet “C/2022 E3 ZTF” It is approaching Earth in its orbit and will most likely be visible to the naked eye by the end of January or the beginning of February. “Because this comet has an orbital period of about 50,000 years, this is a unique sight for us in the truest sense of the word,” he explains. Matthew Franger from Styrian Astronomers Society.

Closest to Earth in early February

So he and many other club members would work into the wee hours of the morning for a few days Green glowing comet To stand in front of the lens. At the moment it is already With visual aids They can be recognized as binoculars or telescopes. C/2022 E3 ZTF reaches its closest point to Earth early Februarythen in all likelihood it will come with the naked eye to be recognized.

Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF

Comet C/2022 E3 was ZTF March 2022 It was first discovered at the Zwicky Transit Facility (ZTF) in California. It will orbit near the Sun in January 2023; At the beginning of February he was around 40 million km The distance at its nearest point.

Maximum brightness around the new moon

“Comets that emit a lot of dust are the brightest because they are illuminated by the Sun,” Fragner explains. In order to gain attention in the amateur field, the comet must then fight its way through the interior Solar System Presenting a lot of material – with “C/2022 E3 ZTF” that’s just the case. Plus, the timing of this celestial spectacle is proving convenient, with the comet’s rendezvous scheduled for the end of January. maximum brightness He will come and come January 21 new moon It is, which means that the rest of the starry sky is especially dark in the days before and after.

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January 21st is the new moon.  Since the night sky is usually darker at this time than during other phases of the moon, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is easy to spot.

Comet observation in Styria

In general, however, observing astronomical events is becoming increasingly difficult. On the one hand, this is on Increase artificial light sources They are attributed, which is why they are usually only partially visible in urban areas. On the other hand, you have to do Atmosphere Play along – a big plus Fog frequency In Styria it is often forbidden to see the sky.

To give the opportunity to interested Styrians Comet control To apply, the Styrian Astronomy Association opens on January 28 – against prior notice! – portals The Johannes Kepler People’s Observatory in Steinberg near Graz.

More information You can learn more about it as well as the Styrian Astronomy Society and the Steinberg Observatory here:

Do you already know the lunar calendar?

Your lunar calendar for January 2023

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