After Green comet, India's Himalayan telescope spots 2nd one called Comet C/2020 V2 ZTF | Tech News

After Green comet, India's Himalayan telescope spots 2nd one called Comet C/2020 V2 ZTF

Himalayan Chandra Telescope has spotted a second comet within just two weeks in 2023.

| Updated on: Jan 21 2023, 20:51 IST
Where do comets come from?
1/6 Most comets come from the Kuiper belt, a region beyond the orbit of Neptune comets from this neighborhood usually take 200 years or less to make one orbit around the sun. These are called short-period comets. (NASA)
2/6 Comets also come from their other hangout Oort cloud, a far-far-distant cloud, sending some flying into the inner solar system. (Pixabay)
3/6 When they are at home in the Oort cloud or Kuiper belt comets are just dull, dark chunks of ice, dust, and rock. In this state, they may not be much different from asteroids. (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)
image caption
4/6 Sometimes the gravitational pull of a planet can disturb comets in the Kuiper Belt and fly one headlong toward the sun. Notably, Jupiter's strong gravity can turn a long-period comet into a short-period one. (NASA)
5/6 The Sun's gravitational pull takes over, shaping the comet's path into an elliptical orbit. The comet travels faster and faster as it nears the sun swings and goes around close to the backside, then heads back to more or less where it came from. (Pixabay)
image caption
6/6 What makes comets look fuzzy and have tails? As comets get closer to the sun and begin to warm up, some of their materials start to boil off. This material forms a cloud around the nucleus. The cloud is called the coma and may stretch over hundreds of thousands of miles across. (NASA)
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The Comet C/2020 V2 ZTF was first discovered in 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). (@IIABengaluru / Twitter)

In the first week of January 2023, India's highest observatory, the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) spotted the rare green comet called Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which is making its closest approach after 50000 years. This unusual comet recently completed its orbit around the Sun and is now journey towards the Earth. It will come closest to Earth in Early February. And now, it has been announced that the Chandra Telescope has spotted its 2nd comet.

Now, within two weeks, the Chandra Telescope, placed atop Mount Saraswati in Ladakh spotted another comet while scanning the deep sky. It is Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF) which has a wide coma and a short tadpole-shaped dust tail. It came from the Oort Cloud but will exit the solar system given its hyperbolic orbit.

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"There is a second #comet visible these days, Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF), which was photographed by our astronomers using the Himalayan Chandra Telescope at #Hanle, #Ladakh. This true colour image is made from 3 individual R, G, & B filter images. The images from 3 filters tracking the comet were taken and co-added by Margarita Safonova, Mulchand Kurre & Bharat Chandra," the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) tweeted.

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Comet C/2020 V2 ZTF and the green comet were discovered by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The Comet C/2020 V2 ZTF was first discovered in 2020 during the survey scan of the entire northern sky every two nights using an exceptionally wide-field CCD camera on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. SkyandTelescope revealed that this comet is "slowly brightening to a peak magnitude of about 9.0–9.5 in late January and again in late August–early September during its closest approach to Earth on September 17, 2023."

About India's Himalayan Chandra Telescope

The 2-m Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanle at an altitude of 4500 m (15000 ft) above mean sea level (MSL) is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore. It was set up in 2000.

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First Published Date: 21 Jan, 20:51 IST