You won't believe who snapped this new comet first

A new comet was recently found and astonishingly, it was captured first by an amateur astronomer and not any nation's space agency!

| Updated on: Sep 04 2023, 16:39 IST
5 asteroids, including a 200-foot monster, approaching Earth over the next 48 hours, NASA says
1/5 Asteroid 2023 QH: NASA's JPL has detected the approach of Asteroid 2023 QH towards Earth today, on August 31st. According to NASA's assessment, this asteroid measures approximately 200 feet in diameter and is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 57,259 kilometers per hour. Fortunately, its closest approach to our planet will be at a  distance of 4.6 million kilometers. Given its relatively small size, similar to that of an aircraft, there is no cause for concern as it will safely pass by Earth. (Pexels)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 QB2: Tomorrow, on September 1st, Asteroid 2023 QB2 is set to approach Earth. NASA has categorized this celestial body as "house-sized," estimating its size at around 60 feet in diameter. It will be traveling at a velocity of 25,793 kilometers per hour and will come closest to Earth at a distance of 3.19 million kilometers. (Unsplash)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 QZ1: On September 1st, an airplane-sized asteroid named 2023 QZ1 will make its approach towards Earth at a speed of 35,337 kilometers per hour. Measuring approximately 160 feet in diameter, it will pass by our planet at a distance of 6.97 million kilometers. (Pixels)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 QU: Brace for the arrival of Asteroid 2023 QU on September 2nd, moving at a velocity of 35,337 kilometers per hour. This aircraft-sized asteroid, with a diameter of about 100 feet, will approach Earth at a distance of 5.22 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2017 BY32: Also expected to approach Earth on September 2nd is Asteroid 2017 BY32. Measuring 58 feet in diameter, roughly the size of a house, it will be hurtling towards Earth at a speed of 12,446 kilometers per hour. Its closest approach to our planet will be at a distance of 6.29 mn kilometers.  (Pixabay)
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The comet was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura and it has attracted attention from NASA and other skywatching enthusiasts. (Representative image) (NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery)

Have you ever seen a comet with your naked eyes or even through a telescope? Very few people have. And now, it transpires that a newly discovered comet was snapped by an amateur astronomer and not by any of these vaunted space agencies. He snapped it with his digital camera. Comets have fascinated astronomers and skywatchers for centuries and, according to NASA, these enigmatic objects are remnants from the early days of our solar system, dating back a staggering 4.6 billion years. With their iconic long, streaming tails, comets have captivated the human imagination for ages, often making rare appearances in our night skies. In what would certainly be a proud moment for him, Japanese amateur astronomer Hideo Nishimura has ignited excitement within the astronomical community and among skywatchers worldwide, with his new find.

What are comets?

As explained by NASA, Comets are celestial bodies composed of dust and ice that follow orbits around the Sun. They are renowned for their distinctive long tails and are remnants from the early days of the solar system, dating back approximately 4.6 billion years.

Comets are typically located in the distant regions of the solar system. Some are situated in the Kuiper Belt, a wide disk extending beyond the orbit of Neptune, and are classified as short-period comets because they complete an orbit around the Sun in less than 200 years. Others reside in the Oort Cloud, a spherical region located about 50 times farther from the Sun than the Kuiper Belt. These are referred to as long-period comets due to their significantly longer orbital periods, with some taking more than 250,000 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.

Comet captured on digital camera!

Nishimura detected this celestial object on August 11 using a standard digital camera and a series of 30-second exposures. Although it is currently not visible to the naked eye, NASA has observed a steady increase in its brightness since its discovery. Astronomers have also plotted its future trajectory through the inner solar system.

According to a report by Cosmos magazine, the comet will be located in the constellation Cancer in the predawn sky until around September 7, but its visibility will diminish as it gets closer to the intense glare of the Sun. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere may need telescopes or binoculars for the best views. Additionally, skywatching apps like Starwalk or Sky Guide can help locate the comet in the sky.

As mentioned in Cosmos magazine, the comet should reach perihelion on 17 September. At this point, it will be approximately 0.22 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun.

It will be really a mesmerizing experience for those who will be able to witness this celestial phenomenon.

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First Published Date: 04 Sep, 16:16 IST
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