Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) Visible next month.

Started by Slim, January 16, 2023, 03:56:14 PM

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Slim

https://outsider.com/outdoors/news-outdoors/comet-that-only-orbits-the-sun-every-50000-years-expected-to-be-visible-from-earth/

https://www.space.com/comet-c2022-e3-ztf-january-06-gallery

https://www.space.com/comet-c2022-e3-ztf-messenger-from-outer-solar-system

The Comet C/2022 E3 (ZFT) could put on an amazing show for skywatchers January and February 2023, when it could become visible to the unaided eye in the night sky.

I've just read that it comes around every 50,000 years or so, which means that it was probably seen by our Neanderthal cousins last time it was visible in the night sky (and of course light pollution wasn't a thing in those days). I wonder what life on Earth will look like next time it comes around?

The Picnic Wasp

Mind boggling stuff. The fact that 50,000 years is the blink of an eye as far as the cosmos is concerned is impossible to fathom. I can't see how the mankind we recognise could exist other than in small groups of survivors scattered across the globe. The sheer weight of mouths to feed, climate change, the constant threat of nuclear holocaust, more frequent pandemics or an unpredicted asteroid will surely take a massive toll at some point between now and 52023. On a lighter note, I remember feeling quite thick last time we had a significant comet visit when I discovered the tail didn't trail behind.😂

Matt2112

A pristinely clear sky this evening for the dog walk with no polluting moonlight; I had this thread in mind as I admired the winter constellations in their pomp, realising that 50,000 years ago the configuration of stars as seen from Earth would have looked very different than they do now (and will do thousands of years from now, of course).

David L

Quote from: Slim on January 16, 2023, 03:56:14 PMI've just read that it comes around every 50,000 years or so, which means that it was probably seen by our Neanderthal cousins last time it was visible in the night sky

..and Keith Richards

Slim

Quote from: The Picnic Wasp on January 16, 2023, 10:08:01 PMMind boggling stuff. The fact that 50,000 years is the blink of an eye as far as the cosmos is concerned is impossible to fathom.

Here's a thought - modern sharks, essentially as we know them today, came into existence over 150 million years ago. Some of the shark species that exist today existed in identical form 150 million years ago (source : https://www.sharktrust.org/shark-evolution).

So this comet has been around something like 3,000 times in the night sky while sharks just like those we know today have roamed the waters below. 3,000 of those 50,000 year intervals.

When the Romans invaded Britain about 2060 years ago, the comet was already 96% of the way round its most recent trip round the Sun toward us.





Disclaimer: this assumes that the comet is 150 million years old, which it probably isn't. But if you go with it it does give a sense of the mind-boggling timescales involved.

Matt2112

Just read it will reach magnitude +5, so it should indeed be easy to spot with the naked eye in reasonable conditions.

I'll take by 10x50s in any case.

Matt2112

Bit annoying there's a waxing moon high in the sky, but hoping to make a sighting tonight (near Polaris).

Slim

I got a very faint view through binoculars. Glad to have seen it. But not exactly a spectacle. I used Stellarium to gauge its position relative to two other bright objects.


Fishy

From The Land of Honest Men

Matt2112

Went to my usual night sky observation point last night, noticing the sky was quite clear to the north.  Didn't have my binoculars and because of the moon couldn't see anything dimmer than +4.

It was very windy and chilly on that exposed vantage point so I didn't stick around; more clouds rolled in anyway, bringing with them squally showers, so a bit of a wash out of an evening really. :(


pxr5

"Oh, for the wings of any bird other than a Battery hen."

Slim

Reminds me of when Halley's Comet came around again in 1986. It had previously been seen in 1910. And it's already half way round again.

Matt2112

I remember Hale-Bopp being a real doozy back in 1997.  Unmissable at almost -2 magnitude and hung in the sky for ages.

Slim

Quote from: Matt2112 on January 16, 2023, 10:22:11 PMA pristinely clear sky this evening for the dog walk with no polluting moonlight; I had this thread in mind as I admired the winter constellations in their pomp, realising that 50,000 years ago the configuration of stars as seen from Earth would have looked very different than they do now (and will do thousands of years from now, of course).

Nice graphic here showing how constellations change over time.

https://www.halcyonmaps.com/constellations-throughout-the-ages/