The ‘Neanderthal’ comet can already be seen with the naked eye from the Czech Republic. It reaches maximum brightness in February | iRADIO

Even with the naked eye, the “Neanderthal Comet” is visible under the dark sky in the Czech Republic, far from the cities, which is flying towards the Earth. People can now observe it well with small telescopes and regular binoculars, it should be brightest at the turn of January and February. The Neanderthal comet discovered last year got its nickname because it last came close to the Sun and Earth about 47,500 years ago, said Pavel Suchan, press secretary of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences.



Prague
4:29 p.m January 24, 2023

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The Neanderthal Comet is visible even with the naked eye in a clear sky | Source: Profimedia

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)it has been visible all night since mid-January, its movement through the sky is slowly accelerating due to its approach to the Earth. It moved into the constellation Dragon last weekend, will enter Ursa Minor on Wednesday, and will continue between Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

At the end of the month, it will pass close to Polaris. After passing through the inner parts of the Solar System, due to the gravitational influence of the large planets, the trajectory of the comet will change and it will leave the Solar System forever.


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The comet will make its closest approach to Earth on February 1, at which time it should reach maximum brightness. At that time, according to astronomers, it will be visible to the naked eye as a small nebulous star, but in a night environment affected by artificial light, binoculars or small telescopes will help to observe it.

In addition, from the beginning of February, the moon will start to interfere strongly with the observation, because on February 5 there will be a full moon. The moonless sky awaits the comet again from February 8, when it will move through the constellation of the Chariot.

It will then enter the constellation Taurus and be seen near the bright planet Mars on February 11 and 12. It will be well observable in telescopes until the end of February, in small telescopes until the end of March.

The comet was discovered last year at the beginning of March by a robotic inspection of images of the starry sky from a telescope at the Palomar Astronomical Observatory in California, USA.

“In photographs that show more than the naked eye, the two tails of the comet are clearly visible – the long ion tail and the bright dust tail. Also prominent is the green color of the comet’s head caused by sublimating cyanide in the comet’s (coma) head,” the astronomers said. Information is also available at websiteCzech Astronomical Society.

CTK

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