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The 'Green' Comet ZTF - have you seen it?

  • 27-01-2023 11:30am
    Registered Users Posts: 48 Frank Ryan Jr

    Don't believe the hype!

    It's no Hale-Bopp, not near a Neowise, though this little green guy is getting a lot of press. Be aware; it's a common garden just barely naked eye comet. OF COURSE it's still worth a look!

    It's a nice green colour and currently has both a tail and anti-tail. But you'll definitely need at least binoculars for a decent view.

    I spotted it in binos the other night and you could definitely see it was a wedge shape. Pretty cool to think it may have last been by 50,000 years ago and may never return.

    Clear skies!



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,566 ✭✭✭ seenitall

    Saw it! I’m so chuffed. :D

    No binoculars or anything, and it’s a very cloudy night as well, and drizzly.

    An article online said to try and see it between 00:30 and 01:00h.

    00:35h, I got up on to the roof on my building and straight away I notice this vaguely greenish thing in the sky, kinda fighting to be seen through the clouds. I cross the length of the roof heading east, it takes me a minute to do that, then as I turn around - there it is! A BIG, GREEN beauty, it gave me a little shimmering display, just for me! :D

    That big green flash only lasted a couple of seconds, and then it was gone behind the clouds again. I waited until 1 but it didn’t show up again, except just very vaguely right before I left.

    So happy I caught it, it’s such a beaut, I gave it a “Wow”, and I don’t get wowed by much these days. Also, 50,000 years would be a rather long wait to see it again (with no guarantees I’d even make it, at the end of the day), so another reason to be happy I caught it now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,539 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    Very funny, no you didn't

    I had a go tonight, and here it is:

    The haziness is due to the moon lighting up some moisture and me lightening the exposure. This was with a 100mm lens.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,566 ✭✭✭ seenitall

    Oops was it something completely different I saw then?? Typical me! :D All I know is it was big and green, quite beautiful, so I’m glad I got up on the roof and got to admire it, whatever it was! ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,539 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    And here it is with a 360mm f2 lens, 6 images stacked.

    And a crop of that:

    This was all taken through light cloud,so it might have been better without that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,541 ✭✭✭✭ M.T. Cranium

    Friday night it will be within the same binocular field as Mars, around midnight it should be above and to the left of Mars, later in the night (or at midnight in my time zone, Pacific) it will be even closer to Mars, as it's slowly dropping down towards the southwest horizon.

    For general readers who won't know where Mars can be located in the sky, it's quite easy. Look for familiar Orion high in the south after full darkness, or in the southwest by midnight. Look up and to the right of Orion, you'll see two prominent reddish objects, the lower one is Aldebaran which is always at that location, and the higher, brighter one is Mars. Another bright star is located even higher up, that's Capella. The comet is on a track taking it just to the left of both Mars (tonight) and Aldebaran (in about three nights from now). With high powered binoculars, you should be able to see the comet if Mars is positioned near the "5 o'clock" position of the circle of view (later viewers, it would be even closer). You might need to scan up and to the left a little further to see its tail fully. Moon rises around midnight so a look around 10 p.m. gives you darker skies, if you can find a clear spot; I think the best chance for that in Ireland will be in the inland south and perhaps southeast counties. More cloud is likely further north but some places could get lucky.

    The comet is not at its brightest as it has passed "perihelion" which was 1.11 A.U. around 12th of January, and closest approach to earth (0.28 A.U.) on 1st of Feb. It looks like it is close to Mars and maybe it actually is (not just a line of sight proximity) since Mars is around 1.5 A.U. from the Sun. Its track is now taking it back out of the solar system and in a generally "downward" direction relative to north being up and south being down, so in a few months it will be well below our orbital plane (which it intersects around the 12th-13th) and basically will eventually be far below Jupiter's south pole on its way out and back into the void of the Oort cloud.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,539 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    Friday night it will be within the same binocular field as the clouds overhead.