In 2023, there is already something to look forward to for all astrophile. According to NASA, comet C/2022 E3 may be visible to the naked eye in clear skies during the cold months of January and February as it approaches Earth.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is the name of the comet, which is currently traveling through the inner solar system. On January 12, it will make its perihelion or closest approach to the sun, and between February 1 and 2, it will make its perigee or closest approach to Earth.
The “cosmic snowballs” known as comets are made up of frozen gases, dust, and rock and orbit the sun. As they approach our star, these objects are subjected to radiation doses that increase, resulting in the release of gases and debris
A First Time Naked-Eye Comet
This fresh comet was detected in March of last year while orbiting Jupiter. The comet should be visible in the Northern Hemisphere’s early morning sky in January. It will travel northwest and pass between the Little and Big Dippers before the end of the month. By the second half of January, humans may be able to observe the comet with their own eyes. Anyone in the southern hemisphere can anticipate seeing the comment by early February. The comet is expected to be at least magnitude +6–roughly the brightest that the human eye can see—by the time it makes its closest approach to Earth, if not slightly better.
According to Robert Massey, Deputy Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society in the United Kingdom, “The current prediction is that the comet will reach magnitude +5 around the start of February.” “So far, the observed brightness is in line with that model.” Mr Massey remarked.
After traveling by the Earth, this comet will proceed away from the sun and the inner solar system. According to the site, considering the uncertainty surrounding its future direction, it will be interesting to observe what occurs next.