At the beginning of February, the comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), glowing in greenish light, will come close to Earth and will be visible from Hungary.
The comet’s expected 4.5-magnitude brightness is enough to be visible even with the naked eye in a dark sky free of light pollution, and it will definitely be visible in a small hand-held telescope. According to the statement of the Svábhegyi Csillagwiszgláó sent to MTI, the comet only rises high at dawn, but when it approaches the Earth on the first of February, it is already visible in the evening. And in the early evening of February 7-8, the moonlight will not interfere with your observation either.
On February 6, it will be relatively close to the very bright star Capella, high above us, on the edge of the constellation Szekeres. Then, day by day, it moves closer to reddish-colored Mars, to which it will be closest on February 11. A comet passing one degree from the red planet will offer a very special sight even in a simple hand-held telescope. February 13-15. between, the comet passes in front of the Hyades cluster in the Taurus constellation, forming a wonderful conjunction between the horns of Taurus.
The periodic comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) last came close to Earth about fifty thousand years ago. The comet is named after the Zwicky Transient Facility sky survey conducted at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in California. The comet’s shape and color are special: an extensive, green cometary atmosphere, known as a coma, has formed around the nucleus, which determines its appearance. A wide-open, fan-shaped, short, yellowish-white dust plume is currently emerging from the coma, the edge of which is fibrous in the high-resolution images. In addition to the wide, stubby dust plume, an extremely long, faint, straight ion plume also starts from the comet, which, like an ax handle, holds the broad ax head.
According to the information, the Svábhegy Star Observatory will dedicate the first three weekends of February to observing the comet. You can apply for the observatory’s programs on the institution’s website.