Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Everything you need to know about the green comet C/2022 E3

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This image of comet C/2022 E3 comes from the US space agency Nasa.


George NopperEditor News

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered in March 2022 by staff at California’s Zwicky Transient Facility Observatory. Between January 12th and February 11th you will probably be able to see it with binoculars or even with the naked eye. Timm Riesen (46) from the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern is one who is particularly close on the heels of C/2022 E3. Riesen is the director of the Stellarium Gornergrat. For Blick he clarifies the most important questions in connection with the sky spectacle.

What is a comet anyway?

A comet is a remnant of the formation of our solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. When the planets and their moons formed, some material was not integrated. “This is still in the form of comets in space,” says Riesen. According to the astrophysicist, comets are made of the same material as the planets. “You can think of a comet as a kind of dirty snowball, a lump of dust, rock and ice.” According to giants, when this comes to an orbit close to the sun, two tails usually form. A whitish dust tail and an ion tail always pointing away from the sun. “The dust tail is created by outgassing material when the comet heats up, and the ion tail is formed by the impact of the solar wind, which to a certain extent pulls the material with it.”

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