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  • Ville Puoskari

A rare visitor

As my main interest is in deep sky objects throughout the season I rarely use imaging time for other targets. However on 26th of January I decided to spend some time on a rare visitor from Oort cloud - C/2022 E3 (ZTF). This comet is currently closing in on the closest approach relative to Earth on February 1st and it is the brightest comet at the moment in the Northern Hemisphere. Shining around magnitude 6 it is visible to the naked eye with averted vision on a moonless night. C/2022 E3 is a long period comet, discovered by astronomers Bryce Bolin and Frank Masci using the Zwicky Transient Facility telescope survey in early March 2022. Upon discovery the comet had an apparent magnitude of 17.3 - The object was intially identified as an asteroid but follow up observations revealed it had a condensed coma, thus indicating that it was a comet. As the comet gets closer to the sun diatomic carbon and cyanogen in the comets nucleus react with intensifying solar radiation, causing it to emit a green glow that makes it an easy target for backyard astronomers.


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