Comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) file from NASA

Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF and the α -Centaurids meteor shower will be visible in the skies in February, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) astronomical diary.

The C/2022 E3 ZTF, a long-period comet from the Oort cloud that was found by the Zwicky Transient Facility on March 2, 2022, will be closest to Earth on February 1.

PAGASA reported that its closest approach is at a distance of 42 million kilometers, among the background stars of Camelopardalis, the Giraffe constellation.

It will be visible in the evening sky until midnight and can be seen using a telescope or binoculars.

In addition to the comet, the α  -Centaurids meteor shower will peak on February 8, lasting from January 28 to February 21. PAGASA noted that it is expected to be active at 12:12 a.m.

It is estimated that the meteor shower will produce six meteors per hour at its peak.

“The finest display of meteor shower is visible whenever the shower’s radiant point is above the horizon, with the number of visible meteors increasing as the radiant point ascends higher in the sky,” PAGASA said.

The meteor showers can be observed with the naked eye, without the use of telescopes or binoculars.

The viewing experience is maximized by choosing a dark observation site away from the city lights under clear and moonless sky conditions, PAGASA advised.

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