© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) passes perihelion

Dominic Ford, Editor
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Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to the Sun on 12 January, at a distance of 1.11 AU.

From San Diego on the day of perihelion it will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 00:01 (PDT) and reaching an altitude of 60° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 05:47.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

The events that comprise the 2022–2023 apparition of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) are as follows:

Date Event
12 Jan 2023Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) passes perihelion
01 Feb 2023Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) passes perigee
01 Feb 2023Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) reaches peak brightness

The table below lists the times when C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be visible from San Diego day-by-day through its apparition:

Date Constellation Comet visibility
22 Dec 2022Corona BorealisVisible from 04:14 until 05:41
Highest at 05:41, 40° above E horizon
24 Dec 2022Corona BorealisVisible from 04:05 until 05:42
Highest at 05:42, 42° above E horizon
26 Dec 2022Corona BorealisVisible from 03:54 until 05:43
Highest at 05:43, 44° above E horizon
28 Dec 2022Corona BorealisVisible from 03:44 until 05:44
Highest at 05:44, 46° above E horizon
30 Dec 2022Corona BorealisVisible from 03:33 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 48° above E horizon
01 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 03:21 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 50° above E horizon
03 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 03:09 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 52° above E horizon
05 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 02:57 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 54° above E horizon
07 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 02:43 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 56° above E horizon
09 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 02:29 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 58° above E horizon
11 Jan 2023Corona BorealisVisible from 02:14 until 05:47
Highest at 05:47, 60° above E horizon
13 Jan 2023BootesVisible from 01:57 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 62° above NE horizon
15 Jan 2023BootesVisible from 01:38 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 63° above NE horizon
17 Jan 2023BootesVisible from 01:15 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 64° above NE horizon
19 Jan 2023BootesVisible from 00:48 until 05:46
Highest at 05:46, 65° above NE horizon
21 Jan 2023DracoVisible from 00:12 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 64° above NE horizon
23 Jan 2023DracoVisible from 23:21 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 61° above N horizon
25 Jan 2023Ursa MinorVisible from 21:54 until 05:45
Highest at 05:45, 56° above N horizon
27 Jan 2023Ursa MinorVisible from 18:13 until 05:47
Highest at 05:18, 49° above N horizon
29 Jan 2023CamelopardalisVisible from 18:13 until 05:48
Highest at 02:15, 43° above N horizon
31 Jan 2023CamelopardalisVisible from 18:13 until 05:47
Highest at 22:10, 48° above N horizon

A more detailed table of C/2022 E3 (ZTF)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is available here.

Finder chart

The chart below shows the path of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) over the course of its apparition, as calculated from the orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC). It is available for download, either on dark background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats, or on a light background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats. It was produced using StarCharter.

Comet brightnesses

Comets are intrinsically highly unpredictable objects, since their brightness depends on the scattering of sunlight from dust particles in the comet's coma and tail. This dust is continually streaming away from the comet's nucleus, and its density at any particular time is governed by the rate of sublimation of the ice in the comet's nucleus, as it is heated by the Sun's rays. It also depends on the amount of dust that is mixed in with that ice. This is very difficult to predict in advance, and can be highly variable even between successive apparitions of the same comet.

In consequence, while the future positions of comets are usually known with a high degree of confidence, their future brightnesses are not. For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all. For the few comets where we do make estimates, we generally prefer the BAA's magnitude parameters to those published by the Minor Planet Center, since they are typically updated more often.

Based on the magnitude parameters published for this comet by the BAA Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag 6 on 12 January 2023. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.

This comet is not expected to be visible to the naked eye, but might be visible through bird-watching binoculars.

The comet's position at perihelion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude
Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) 15h47m40s 38°35'N 6.5

The coordinates are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 12 Jan 2023

The sky on 12 January 2023
Sunrise
06:49
Sunset
17:01
Twilight ends
18:29
Twilight begins
05:22

20-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

67%

20 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 05:54 11:04 16:14
Venus 08:06 13:19 18:31
Moon 21:26 03:58 10:22
Mars 13:30 20:41 03:52
Jupiter 10:28 16:30 22:33
Saturn 08:40 14:04 19:27
All times shown in PST.

Source

This event was automatically generated on the basis of orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) , and is updated whenever new elements become available. It was last updated on 27 Apr 2024.

Image credit

© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.

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San Diego

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32.72°N
117.16°W
PDT

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