Comet C2022 E3 (ZTF)

Comet C2022 E3 (ZTF) photographed on 21 January 2023

After M42 had began to drop to low in the western skies, making any further attempts at photographing it futile, I decided to try and find the newly discovered, long period comet, C2022 E3 (ZTF). I was unable to see it with my naked eye at my location, but with careful scanning using binoculars, I was able to find it. At 03:00, I was happy that getting it in the camera viewfinder wasn’t too difficult a task. I knew this wouldn’t be the best image of this comet, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. This is a stack of 77 20-second images. You can make out the green color of the comet’s head, proposed to be due to the presence of diatomic carbon, along with two tails. The broader, warmly colored tail is the dust tail and the fainter tail below is the ion tail.

The comet’s closet distance to earth will appear on February 1st, where it will be close to the north celestial pole. The waxing moon will make it harder to see. So, if you plan on trying to see this one yourself, you should wait until the moon sets.

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