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Title: Palomar discovery and initial characterization of naked-eye long-period comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

Long-period comets are planetesimal remnants constraining the environment and volatiles of the protoplanetary disc. We report the discovery of hyperbolic long-period comet C/2022 E3 Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), which has a perihelion ∼1.11 au, an eccentricity ≳1 and an inclination ∼109°, from images taken with the Palomar 48-inch telescope during morning twilight on 2022 March 2. Additionally, we report the characterization of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) from observations taken with the Palomar 200-inch, the Palomar 60-inch, and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in early 2023 February to 2023 March when the comet passed within ∼0.28 au of the Earth and reached a visible magnitude of ∼5. We measure g–r = 0.70 ± 0.01, r–i = 0.20 ± 0.01, i–z = 0.06 ± 0.01, z–J = 0.90 ± 0.01, J–H = 0.38 ± 0.01, and H–K = 0.15 ± 0.01 colours for the comet from observations. We measure the A(0°)fρ (0.8 μm) in a 6500 km radius from the nucleus of 1483 ± 40 cm, and CN, C3, and C2 production of 5.43 ± 0.11 × 1025, 2.01 ± 0.04 × 1024, and 3.08 ± 0.5 × 1025 mol s−1, similar to other long-period comets. We additionally observe the appearance of jet-like structures at a scale of ∼4000 km in wide-field g-band images, which may be caused by the presence of CN gas in the near-nucleus coma.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Medium: X Size: p. L42-L46
["p. L42-L46"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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