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  • Writer's pictureayush devak

India's Himalayan telescope spots second comet in two weeks

India's Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), located atop Mount Saraswati in Hanle of Ladakh, has spotted the second comet in two weeks as it scans the deep sky. The country's highest observatory spotted Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF) using three filters and found it to have a wide coma and a short tadpole-shaped dust tail.

The images from three filters tracking the comet were taken and co-added by Margarita Safonova, Mulchand Kurre & Bharat Chandra, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, said in a tweet.

"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 color image is made from 3 individual R, G, & B filter images," IIA tweeted with the image of the comet as seen by the telescope.


The comet is above the horizon from Greenwich and is visible in the northern direction, according to The Sky Live. The comet was first discovered in 2020 by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) during a survey in which the telescope would scan the entire northern sky every two nights using an exceptionally wide-field CCD camera.

Comets consist mostly of ice coated with dark organic material. They have been referred to as dirty snowballs and may yield important clues about the formation of our solar system.

The observatory had, in the first week of January, spotted Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), which last came close to Earth about 50,000 years ago when our ancient ancestor Neandrathals roamed the planet. The rare green comet recently completed its orbit around the Sun and reached the closest to the star in our Solar System.

Astronomers expect that the comet will be visible in the skies above Earth in the early week of February and could be seen with the naked eye if it glows at a higher magnitude. Astronomers captured the green comet when the telescope was tracking the fast-moving comet, and the background stars appeared to move in a trail.

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