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When and how can comet ZTF return after 50,000 years with the naked eye?

This comet will make its passage very close to the Sun this Thursday, January 12 before approaching the Earth in the following days.

It hadn’t passed around the Earth since the Paleolithic, or 50,000 years. Indeed, it takes this time for comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) to go around the Sun.

It is therefore an exceptional event that will occur in the next few days after its return from the depths of the solar system. Especially since its next passage could occur in 50,000 years unless it is ejected from the solar system.

How was this comet discovered?

The comet was identified by the Palomar Astronomical Observatory in California in March 2022. It takes approximately 50,000 years to cross the solar system.

The last time it passed close to Earth was during the Paleolithic period.

Ce small celestial body made of ice is important for scientists to understand the early solar system but also the constitution of the Earth and its water supply.

When can we observe it?

Ce Thursday January 12, the comet will be closest to the Sun and will be 160 million kilometers from Earth.

It will in the days that follow get closer to our planet to be as close as possible to the February 1 next 42 million kilometers away.

How to observe it?

It is not yet possible to know its luminosity, it will depend on its passage near the Sun, as reported Science and Future.

The advice of Eric Lagadec, astrophysicist at the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur is as follows: “To have a chance of observing it, you will have to look at a clear sky to the north near Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. The best is to be guided by someone who knows a little about it and who has a telescope.

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If it is bright enough it will be possible to see it with the naked eye. On the other hand, it will be necessary‘remove at most light sources like cities and wait for the moon is dark.

It is advisable to try to watch it during the last hours of the night.

As the new moon is January 21this date could be the best to observe it.

So with your piercing eye or even your binoculars to admire this event…

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