Home Science Once-in-a-lifetime chance to see rare comet Wednesday night

Once-in-a-lifetime chance to see rare comet Wednesday night

by News Desk
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A once-in-a-lifetime event will pass through the skies Wednesday night as the comet known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) becomes the closest point to Earth.

The comet was first discovered in March Zwicky Temporary Facility in California. Experts say a one-kilometer-diameter sphere of frozen gas, rock, and dust has orbited our solar system since it was last seen from Earth more than 50,000 years ago.

“It will be another 50,000 years before that happens,” said Orbax, a production specialist at the University of Guelph’s physics department. It happened at times,” he said.

Experts predict that C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will reach its local brightest around 10:20 PM Wednesday night.

“It should be close enough to Earth that you can actually see it with the naked eye,” said Orbax.

The comet’s chemical composition causes a green streak to appear in the sky.

“It has a high content of dicarbon molecules, which is why it looks green instead of another color,” said Orbax.

Members of the KW Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada plan to observe the comet.

Ellen Papenberg, of the KW Center at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, said: “Comets are real particles, wave particles that hit our eyes, so they kind of kiss the comet.

Papenburg has witnessed similar events before, but doesn’t expect this one to be as bright as others.

“There’s too much hype about it,” she said. “On the contrary, I came from far away, so I can see even a vague patch, which is very nice.”

Papenburg plans to observe the comet in a darker environment and use binoculars and telescopes to get a better look.

“Let’s go out of town with a telescope, because it’s better in the dark. We’ll try telescopes with friends as well as binoculars,” Papenberg said.

Ellen Papenberg on Jan. 31 points to a place in Kitchener where I often watch cometary events. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The comet will be faintly visible from Earth until February 15, according to Orbax, but the cloud could pose a problem for astronomers.

“Expect the occasional break in February cloud cover and you’ll actually be able to see it,” said Orbax.

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