A comet not seen since Neanderthals walked the Earth 50,000 years ago returns in a week, but astrophotographers catch a glimpse of the once-in-a-generation iceberg.
Arizona State’s Andrew McCarthy captured a stunning image of C/2022 E3 (ZTF), capturing the bright greenish coma and long, glowing tail.
Right now, E3 can only be seen with a telescope, but it will be visible to the naked eye when it reaches perihelion at the beginning of February when it will be 26 million miles away.
McCarthy told DailyMail.com that he spent an entire morning tracking the comet and “the result is a stack of about 45 images taken over an hour between the clouds.”
Andrew McCarthy tracked the comet for hours, taking pictures whenever he could. The end result, the comet’s natural colors, is a stunning image showing its green coma and glowing tail
McCarthy went on to explain that there were many clouds in the sky the day he was tracking E3 and took pictures every chance he got.
“The image actually had a lot of cloud artifacts and close-ups of a street light,” he told DailyMail.com.
As a result, the initial image looked terrible. You can see some artifacts from the clouds here, showing uneven patches.
You can also see how the stars and the comet were in different locations during that hour, which also had to be corrected (which is a very complicated procedure).
McCarthy said he did a lot of processing to clean up the image to get a stunning result, but the ion tail seen in the unprocessed image is “delicate”.
He told DailyMail.com that the color in the photo is real.
In early March, astronomers discovered Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) using the Zwicky Transit Facility’s Wide Field Survey Camera.
Since then, the new long-period comet has brightened dramatically and is now sweeping across the northern constellation Corona Borealis in the predawn sky.
Stargazers will be able to tell the difference between the comet and the stars around it as it will have a trail of dust following it.
A glowing green coma, a cloud of gas, will cling around it.
This gas is formed when a comet passes close to the Sun, causing the ices to change state.
Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but the brightness of C/2022 E3, given their current direction, should make them easier to spot with binoculars or a telescope.
However, those without specialized equipment should not worry, as it may be visible to the naked eye if the sky is dark enough later this month.
However, Bryce Bolin, who discovered the comet last year, is “secretly hopeful.”[s] It will unravel “where” that is where the most interesting science is.
Currently, E3 can only be seen through a telescope, but it will be visible to the naked eye when it reaches perihelion at the beginning of February, when it will be 26 million miles away. McCarthy shared an unprocessed photo of the comet
McCarthy went on to explain that there were a lot of clouds in the sky the day he was tracking E3 and took pictures every chance he got.
“Comets are the cats of the solar system,” he told the Boston Globe. “They do whatever they want.
‘Like cats have fluff.’ Comets have been observed to have strange behaviors, such as fragmentation or disintegration.
However, there is no strong correlation between the distance to the Sun and the type of decay events that occur. It could separate on its way before it gets too close to the sun, or even after.
The NASA postdoctoral fellow said he and Caltech Senior Staff Frank Massey were at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory when the AI was aware of the unknown comet.
If the naked eye can spot this newly discovered comet, it will be the first time since NEOWISE has flown close to Earth in 2020, although it will not be close to this comet.