Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF: images – 5 & 28 July 2022
Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF will hopefully be bright enough to be seen by naked eye early next year. While waiting and hoping, we imaged it a few times this July.
The image above comes from the average of 16, 120-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, this is why stars left long trails on the background. The image was processed to show both the bright region and the dusty tail at their best. A couple of satellite trails are also visible.
Comet C/2022 E3 was discovered on 2 Mar. 2022 during the activities of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), hence the name. Since it was announced, it was clear that this dirty snowball had chances to reach naked eye visibility around the time of its fly-by with the Earth (2 Feb. 2023.), when it will be well placed in the Northern sky (but am almost full Moon will be around, too).
As we can see by comparing our images taken three weeks apart, it is developing nicely and the best we can do is to hope that comet C/2022 E2 ZTF will be, at least, a nice binocular view. But keep in mind: comets are unpredictable. The picture just above comes from 9, 120-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected , again, with the “Elena” unit.
We will keep an eye and it and will schedule a live feed in due time.
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