It’s not often that a comet gets close enough to Earth to be visible to the naked eye, but C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may soon. A photographer captured an image of the comet showing what appears to be a broken tail.
For weeks, astronomers and photographers have captured images of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF). Austrian Michael Jagger is one of them. newly published He posted a new photo of the comet on Twitter showing that the comet’s “tail” appears to be broken or that part of the tail appears to have disappeared.
Space Weather website Offers This fracture in another Jäger image suggests turbulent space weather in the form of relatively strong solar winds is responsible. The main reason for this may be plasma clouds caused by increased solar activity. These are huge explosions of the sun in which many charged particles are thrown into the universe, which can also cause aurora borealis, for example.
Jäger snapped this image last Tuesday after driving 500 miles from Austria to southern Germany to get a continuous view of the sky. he Space.com tells That this trip was worth it, in part because you have to be very fast when photographing comets, as they can change very quickly as they enter the warmer parts of the solar system.
The comet actually reached perihelion on January 12th. This is the closest point in its orbit to the Sun. In the coming days, ZTF will continue to brighten and should also become visible to the naked eye, although it will not become as obvious as Comet Neowise in 2020. To see ZTF one has to look north in the morning. On February 1, the comet will be closest to Earth; Then the distance to the Earth will be about a quarter of the distance between the Sun and the Earth.
The comet was discovered in March 2022 by astronomers at the Zwicky Transit Facility at the Palomar Observatory in California. At the time, the comet was about 400 million miles from the sun and was within the orbit of Jupiter.
With comets, being close to the Sun causes the comet’s outer layers to boil away, causing gas and dust to erupt from the icy surface, creating a large tail of debris. The tails are created by the pressure of sunlight. Ion tails are also possible. They are formed from gas that is ionized by sunlight and pushed outward by magnetic fields in the solar wind, after which the ions glow in the sunlight.
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