Comet C/2022 E3 may be visible to the naked eye later this month!

Comet C/2022 E3 may be visible to the naked eye later this month!

The comet was discovered last year and will pass our sun later this month.

Around this time last year, no one had heard of C/2022 E3; The comet was not identified until March 2022 using Zwicky Transit Facility explore. At that time, the comet was already moving toward our Sun and was already inside Jupiter’s orbit. We are now a year later and the comet is approaching perihelion. The point in its orbit closest to our sun. And when the comet hurtles toward the sun, it lights up (see box).

Comets are also referred to as dirty snowballs. It is made up of ice, gases and dust. Comets themselves do not emit light. But its icy surface can reflect sunlight. When comets get closer to the Sun, there is more sunlight to reflect and so they get brighter. In addition, it is heated more strongly by the sun, so that part of the ice sublimates (ice turns into water vapor in one fell swoop). Dust particles trapped in the ice are released and, together with the gases, form a coma: a hazy cloud of gas around the comet’s nucleus. Comet can also get a tail. The emitted material would also reflect sunlight, increasing the comet’s brightness.

rock bottom
On January 12, the distance between the Sun and comet C/2022 E3 was the smallest. The distance between the Sun and the comet is slightly greater than the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Around February 1, the distance between Earth and the comet is the smallest; C/2022 E3 will approach our planet by about 0.29 AU, or 43.3 million km. According to the site, the best time to view the comet from the Netherlands and Belgium is now However, around January 28th.

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with the naked eye?
And you probably don’t even have to look up your binoculars or telescope at that moment. There’s a good chance C/2022 E3 will be so bright by then that it will even be visible to the naked eye. However, astronomers are careful; It is very difficult to predict how the brightness of a comet will evolve. Especially if we haven’t seen that comet pass the Sun before (as is the case with C/2022 E3). But if the increase in brightness we’ve seen in recent months continues, there’s definitely a chance that C/2022 E3 will be visible to the naked eye. Otherwise, you should at least be able to observe it with the help of binoculars.

Not often the comet can be seen with the naked eye. One of the most memorable recent examples of a comet observable with the naked eye is NEOWISE. In the summer of 2020 he put on a great show that was also clearly visible from the Netherlands (see photos here!).

In any case, C/2022 E3 will not provide such a spectacle, astronomers say. However, it’s still worth looking for the comet later this month, using either binoculars or a telescope. Because it’s still so cool to see the icy remnants of our solar system’s 4.5-billion-year-old building moving across the sky. In addition, comet C/2022 E3 appears to have such a long orbit that we – and many generations after us – will never again witness it pass the Sun and Earth.

know more …
…about where to find Comet C/2022 E3 in the night sky later this month? And when are your chances of success greatest? employment Maps and tables reveal where and when to search for the comet. We wish you lots of fun watching!

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