A Triple View of Comet ZTF. APOD. NASA

When Javier Caldera and Miguel Gracia, our youngest astrophotographers, decided to “aim higher”, they may not have imagined that NASA would choose one of their photographs as the image of the day. The image is taken from the night skies of Cáceres, which continues to highlight the fantastic conditions we have in Extremadura for observing the universe.  Called “Triple View of Comet ZTF”, this is a montage showing the star C/2022 E3 (ZTF) progressively zoomed in to give context and scale to the object.

Comet ZTF has a distinctive shape. The now bright comet visiting the inner Solar System has been showing not only a common dust tailion tail, and green gas coma, but also an uncommonly distinctive antitail. The antitail does not actually lead the comet — it is just that the head of the comet is seen superposed on part of the fanned-out and trailing dust tail. The giant dirty snowball that is Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has now passed its closest to the Sun and tomorrow will pass its closest to the Earth. The main panel of the featured triple image shows how Comet ZTF looked last week to the unaided eye under a dark and clear sky over CáceresSpain. The top inset image shows how the comet looked through binoculars, while the lower inset shows how the comet looked through a small telescope. The comet is now visible all night long from northern latitudes but will surely fade from easy observation during the next few weeks.

Javier Caldera remarks that NASA has chosen this image “is quite an honour, as thousands of professional photographers, observatories and amateurs share their snapshots every day on this network and very few get this recognition”. We have to say that it is an honour for us to be able to count on collaborators like you (we include here in this mention all of you who participate in this project, Extremadura, good night) as there are already 3 images of the day – APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) – chosen by NASA, which reflect our skies.

NASA – Astronomy Picture of the Day

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