The comet returns to Earth after 50,000 years of trajectory and people already want to know: Will it be possible to observe it in all regions of Brazil? The passage of a comet is always a big event! Who doesn’t remember the iconic Halley’s Comet, which circled the Earth in 1986? The celestial body made its mark, appearing in the news around the world and, of course, bringing a mystical aura to the 80s.
It is very important to keep an eye on the date of the passage of comets from the Earth. When these cosmic events happen, they only repeat over a period of many years – or in the case of the comet traveling this weekend, millennia! In this way, we explain below everything you need to know about the return of the comet to Earth and how to observe it.
What is a Comet?
First of all, it is important to explain the what is a comet and how are these celestial bodies made.
Many people wonder: what is the difference between a comet and a shooting star? While similar, these cosmic events have important differences.
“Essentially, comets are ‘dirty ice cubes’. The ice of these stones is mainly made up of volatile material (it passes directly from the solid state to the gaseous state) and the ‘dirt’ is mainly made up of dust and stones (of the most varied sizes)”, describes the Frei Rosario Astronomical Observatoryof the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
Comets are made up of two parts: hair and tail. The coma, also called Coma, is the “head” of the comet, and the cause is literally the trail it leaves.
“Unlike planets, whose orbits are nearly circular (a planet’s distance from the Sun varies little), comets have highly elliptical orbits, which emphasizes their approaching distance from the Sun. comet (the point in its orbit farthest from the Sun), the longer it takes for the comet to fully orbit the Sun. says the Observatory.
So what’s the difference between a comet and a shooting star? Comets, as you can already see, they are specific celestial bodieswith particular characteristics of constitution and trajectory.
“Shooting Star”, in turn, is just the popular name given to fragments of celestial bodies (including small particles) which, coming from space, penetrate or pass through the earth’s atmosphere.
In simpler terms, shooting stars “fall to Earth”, while comets simply pass by the planet.
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Comet returns to Earth after 50,000 years – Meet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)
According to information from NASA – and other astronomical studies organizations – a comet that passed by Earth 50,000 years ago returns to planet early this Friday (13).
On that day, the comet will reach its closest point to the Sun, it can be seen with the naked eye in some regions of the planet.
The comet in question is C/2022 E3 (ZTF)who last crossed the Earth in the Age of Caverns.
To give you an idea, 50,000 years ago, the Homo sapiens still interacted with the ancestors of today’s humans – such as Neanderthals and Denisovans.
The name “C/2022 E3 ZTF” does not refer to the date of the passage of the comet, but to its discovery, which took place on March 2, 2022.
C/2022 E3 (ZTF) – What are the characteristics of the star?
As mentioned above, comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was discovered in March 2022, at the Palomar Observatory, located in California.
The discovery was made by astronomers Bryce Bollin and Frank Masci. The acronym “ZFT” refers to the “Zwicky Transient Facility” (the instrument used for the observation of celestial bodies).
At the time of discovery, the comet was already traveling within our Solar System, particularly in the orbit of Jupiter. Since the orbital period of the comet is 50,000 years, 2023 brings its first pass over Earth during recorded human history.
The characteristics of this star of interest remain shrouded in mystery. It is known that the comet is made up of ice and that it glows a shade of green as it crosses the sky.
As the comet passes Earth, astronomers will be able to include important information about it origin, total size, route and chemical composition.
Unfortunately, this is comet C/2022 E3’s last pass by Earth. After this trajectory, the star will leave our Solar System and head towards Deep Space, without ever returning.
Soon, from dawn this Friday (13th), humans have a unique opportunity to observe this cosmic visitor.
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Is it possible to observe the comet returning to Earth in Brazil?
Comet C/2022 E3, which passes Earth this Friday after 50,000 years and will never return, can be seen in the northern hemisphere with the help of binoculars, telescopes and special lenses.
In the southern hemisphere – where it is worth remembering, Brazil is located – the comet cannot be observed on January 13th.
On the other hand, the celestial object will be visible in the southern hemisphere on February 2, when it will make its closest approach to Earth (about 42 million km). That day it will be possible to observe the comet with the naked eye.
That is: this weekend the Brazilians cannot yet observe the comet in the sky. We will have to wait until February 2 (a Thursday).
If you don’t want to wait, it’s worth it. check out the comet’s appearance and its passage through the Earth through The Virtual Telescope Project – a project that aims to democratize access to space observation tools, on the Internet.
Because The Virtual Telescope Project uses state-of-the-art image transition equipment, viewers don’t have to worry about rain, cloud cover, or overcast skies.
The project will go live on YouTube to show the comet’s entire passage. The live stream begins at 1 a.m. PDT on January 13which can be accessed in the project channel (https://www.youtube.com/@GianMasiVirtualTelescope) and on the official website (https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/).
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