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Comet Microscope in Vorarlberg


In the next few weeks, it will be possible to see a comet in the night sky of Vorarlberg with ordinary binoculars. Comet C / 2022 E3 (ZTF) is approaching 42 million km from Earth. Only in about 50,000 years will its orbit bring it back near Earth.

According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the comet is about 1 km in size and has a particle envelope (coma) of 50,000 km. This occurs as the comet approaches the sun and heats up, causing particles to separate from the ice and migrate into the tail.

Look north

Vorarlberg astronomer Robert Seeberger says that if you want to see the comet, you have to look up in the north, toward the North Star. “The comet passes between the Big and Little Dippers.” Anyone who sees an elongated fuzzy green object has discovered a comet. If conditions are good, it may be possible to see the comet with the naked eye.

the obvious brightness Refers to how bright stars or other celestial bodies appear to an observer on Earth in comparison. This astronomical comparative value is described using a scale and presented as a number. The lower this value, the higher the apparent brightness. Bright objects have a negative mag value. For comparison, the value of the Sun is −26.832 mag

When is it more visible?

According to the Society of Friends of the Stars, the best time to see is in mid-January, when the comet is brighter than mag 7 and the waning moon lights up the sky less and less. The days before the end of January will be ideal: the comet will then reach its maximum brightness of about 5.5 mag and the Moon will set in the second half of the night. Then the moonlight interferes with the observation because February 5th is the full moon. In the second week of February, there is another observation window in the evening sky. C/2022 E3 has a brightness of about mag 6, and the comet can be seen all night.

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Currently, Seeberger says, the comet only has a temporary name. When the orbit is identified more precisely, it gets a real name, say from the discoverer, says Seeberger.