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New Comet on the Block

23 December 2022

At https://spaceweather.com … on December 19th and 20th, and again on December 23rd, we have the story of  a shock wave created by the solar wind hitting earth’s magnetic field and causing a crack in the earth’s magnetosphere. We are then told about Comet Schwassmann-Wachman/29P, which has, twice this past week, erupted again. A lot of activity on this comet and it is still way out in the solar system , beyond Jupiter. It sounds like a big boy.

On the 21st we had a new kid on the block, Comet ZTF, which is well inside the orbit of Jupiter. It too has erupted and in so doing is now visible from backyard telescopes. It’s perhelion will be on Janaury 12th and it closest approach to earth on February 1st – if it survives its rendevous with the Sun. It is currently 8th magnitude but there is the possibility it will be 6th magnitude in the next few weeks. Naked eye – but not such a big boy.

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