Posts about solar system

Comet C2022 E3 ZTF in February 2023

The comet C/2022 E3 ZTF was recently visible on February, 7th from Bad Kreuznach, Germany, where the nights before were mostly overcast since the beginning of the year 2023. The comet was discovered in March 2022 by a professional wide-field survey observatory, the Zwicky Transient Facility as indicated by its name. The comet passed perihelion (closest approach to sun) on January 12th, 2023 and ran through the perigee (closes approximation to Earth) on February 1st, 2023 when it also reached its maximum apparent brightness of roughly 5 magnitudes. Thus in an urban area it could not be seen by the naked eye the moon being close to full around that date. The following image was captured shortly after the perigee passage on February 7th, 2023 at night.


Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, 2023-02-07 around 21h UTC, 19x120s RGB, 3x300s RGB for background, setup: Atik 460EXmono, Lacerta Newton 10"f/4, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

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Revealing Asteroid (4)Vesta

Have you ever been sitting at your computer playing with the planetarium program where you can load the current orbits of thousands of asteroid by a mouse click? And yes, they all line up nicely on the screen then, in denser swarms around the ecliptic - as one would expect since many are fragments within our planetary disc around the sun. But when looking at the sky at night - are they really out there? Or are they just propaganda to drive space agencies observation programs? Let's check that ourselves with an object that should be nominally easy to find: the asteroid (4) Vesta is one of the larger pieces and therefore brighter and easy to detect even with a binocular. Since I had time and gas nebula could not be easily imaged in the early morning hours from my location in February, I used the opportunity and pointed my telescope at Vesta which should be wandering through the constellation Lion this morning (according to a button press result in my sky charts program). The observations were all done by the camera and the mount automatically and assembling the frames reveals the "trojan star":


Image Data: Telescope Scopos 80, f=560mm, f/7, Camera Canon EOS60Da, 2021-02-14_02h21-4h50UTC

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