While all eyes are on the famous green cometformally named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), another comet zoomed past our planet.
O comet C/2022 A2 (Pan-STARRS) made its closest approach to Earth on January 17th, and is about to reach perihelionor the closest point to Sun in its orbit on Sunday, February 18. Unfortunately, this comet will likely only be visible to skywatchers with a large telescope.
From Earth, the comet will be visible at perihelion. According to the Sky Watch website In-the-Sky.org (opens in new tab), viewers in New York City will be able to see the comet at dusk on Sunday and at dawn on Monday through two brief windows. C/2022 A2 (Pan-STARRS) will first rise above the horizon in northwestern skies near the constellation Cygnus at around 6:36 pm EST (2336 GMT). The comet will become difficult to spot around 19:06 EST (00:06 GMT on the morning of February 19) as it sinks to just 20 degrees above the horizon. It will, however, make another appearance on the morning of February 19 – from New York, which will take place around 4:17 am EST (0917 GMT) before disappearing at dawn around 5:39 am EST (1039 GMT).
Related: Comets: Everything you need to know about space’s ‘dirty snowballs’
See more information: How to see and photograph comets
C/2022 A2 (Pan-STARRS) was first discovered in January 2022 by the Pan-STARRS research project, which primarily uses telescopes atop Haleakala, the highest volcano on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Telescopes methodically scan the night sky for Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), from comets to asteroidsthis could be dangerous for Earth.
Fortunately, most of their discoveries aren’t headed straight for us. C/2022 A2 (Pan-STARRS), for example, was about 150 million miles (about 240 million kilometers) away from us on its closest approach to Earth.
On the other hand, Earth is constantly being bombarded by (usually small) space rocks. asteroid just put on a dazzling light show to viewers in France and the UK as it burned into our atmosphere
If you’re hoping to catch C/2022 A2 (ZTF) as it approaches the sun, our guides to the best telescopes It is best binoculars can guide you in the right direction for gear. And if you want to take pictures of the event, read our sharing guide. how to see and photograph cometsthen check out our picks for the best cameras for astrophotography It is best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s Note: If you obtain a photograph of C/2022 A2 (Pan-STARRS) during your visit to the inner solar system and would like to share it with Space.com readers, please submit your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to [email protected].
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