This comet is all over the internet right now. Even mainstream media are reporting about the “Neandertal” comet with the poetic name C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which visited us last time 50’000 years ago. I was somehow losing hope to see or take a picture of this comet because the weather was constantly cloudy since October. However, on Sunday 30.1.2023 the sky cleared and I had a time window till 2 o’clock when the clouds rolled in. Unfortunately, the whole event was partially ruined by the Moon in the first quarter, so the best conditions occurred after midnight when the Moon was setting. Anyway, if you want to know why it has such a name, which resembles the password of the wifi at a hotel lobby? In fact, the comet’s naming follows the conventions. The letter C stands for a non-periodic comet, 2022 is the year of discovery, E refers to the month of discovery (first half of March), number 3 means a third comet discovered in this part of the month and ZTF stands for who or what discovered the comet. This specific comet was discovered by Zwicky Transient Facility. And why the nucleus of the comet glows green? Because most of the comets contain dicarbone (C2) molecules, which break apart by solar radiation, and during this process, the energy in form of light is released at carbon specific wavelength of 518 nm, which is a green visible light.
|Focal length||414 mm|
|Mount||Rainbow Astro RST 135|
|Autoguiding||ZWO 178MM, QHY Mini Guide Scope|
|Camera||ZWO 6200MC @-10°C|
|Corrector||F4.4 Quad Reducer|
|Exposure||51x120s, Gain 100, bin 1×1,|
And here is an animation, which goes back and forth. For half of the animation (forward movement) I used 38 frames, each 2 minutes long, which means 76 minutes in total. This gives you an idea of how quickly the comet moves with respect to the background.