The Bright Spot Hour, February 12, 2023 Fixed
The last time this comet passed near the sun was 50,000 years ago, when Neanderthals walked the Earth. Now, as the comet returns to the outer solar system, we can enjoy what could be the brightest comet of 2023 before it gets too dim to see.
The Bright Spot Hour, February 12, 2023
The comet is observable right now. Its magnitude is about 6, which is the limit of naked-eye visibility. Under the clear, dark skies, you might spot a dim, fuzzy smear of light. Optical devices will improve the view: a telescope might even reveal the tail. On January 12, the comet passed perihelion and is now heading outward the Solar System, gradually getting brighter. On February 1, 2023, it will pass the Earth at a distance of 0.28 AU and reach its maximum brightness (around magnitude 5).
Just before 3 a.m. UT, a "very bright ending flash of the meteor" was detected, confirming that the small asteroid, now called 2023 CX1, had entered Earth's atmosphere, the International Meteor Organization said. It hit near Rouen, the capital of France's Normandy region.
Learn to find Orion, and he can direct you to many other sights of the winter sky. Follow the belt stars up and to the right to find a 'V'-shaped group of stars. At one end of the V-shape is a bright orange-red star called Aldebaran. The rest of the stars are part of a cluster called the Hyades. Aldebaran is not part of the Hyades itself. It just happens to sit in front of the star cluster, lining up in just the right spot. Together, Aldebaran and the Hyades mark the face of Taurus the Bull.
Bright outdoor lighting can make it hard to see all but the brightest stars. On a clear night, find a dark spot far away from city lights, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark, and look for even more celestial sights. You can begin by looking for the fainter stars of the season's constellations. The faint stars of Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Boötes, and Perseus become easier to spot.
Further complicating things, the Moon has become a problem for finding the comet as bright moonlight is making it harder to see. Moonlight will continue to be problematic this week as the Moon reaches full moon on February 5, 2023. Those new to observing comets will likely have a tough time spotting C/2022 E3 (ZTF) due to this interference and the declining magnitude.
There are a few upcoming dates that will make finding the comet easier. On February 5, 2023, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be seen a little over 1 west of the bright star Capella around 6:30 p.m. As the night progresses, you will see the comet shift northwest of Capella.
The last date to mention is February 14, 2023. On this night, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will appear near the bright star Aldebaran. This orange giant is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. If using binoculars, the star and the comet should be visible together. But by this date, models are already projecting that the comet will have faded to 7th magnitude.
The comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but those with a pair of binoculars away from bright city lights can try to spot it in the overnight hours and early morning now through early February.
The European Space Agency took notice of the asteroid's impending impact and alerted the public through social media. Astronomers around the world continuously observed the asteroid to refine its trajectory as it approached Earth and its impact location. The asteroid reached a peak brightness of magnitude 13 (about the brightness of Pluto) right before it entered Earth's shadow at around 02:50 UTC. It then faded dramatically and became invisible until impact. The asteroid was last observed on 13 February 2023 02:52:07 UTC by the SATINO Remote Observatory in Haute Provence, France, just two minutes after it entered Earth's shadow and seven minutes before it impacted. At the time of that last observation, the asteroid had faded from magnitude 13 to 16 and moved extremely quickly at an angular rate of 1.7 degrees per minute, at a distance of approximately 11,100 km (6,900 mi) from Earth's center (4,700 km or 2,900 mi altitude[a]).
Hogwarts Legacy's sales numbers were revealed alongside Warner Bros. Discovery's earnings, which saw the company lose some $2.1 billion. That makes Hogwarts Legacy, which has been controversial itself, a rare bright spot for the company's financials.
When a meteor appears, it seems to "shoot" quickly across the sky, and its small size and intense brightness might make you think it is a star. If you're lucky enough to spot a meteorite (a meteor that makes it all the way to the ground), and see where it hits, it's easy to think you just saw a star "fall." 041b061a72