University Lowbrow Astronomers

The Comet Ikeya-Zhang

Comet Ikeya-Zhang
by Gavin Eadie

I went out a couple of nights ago (March 23, 2002) to look for Comet Ikeya-Zhang and caught it through awful sky pollution over our neighbors roof! (From Ann Arbor, Michigan). This is a 10 second exposure on 400 ASA color film processed to increase the contrast. The double straight line to the right of Ikeya-Zhang is an aircraft....

Comet Ikeya Zhang

Night owls and early birds can catch a glimpse of Comet Ikeya-Zhang as it passes by Earth in the next few weeks on its four-century journey around the Sun.

The comet passed closest to the Sun on March 18th, and is now headed out of the solar system past Earth, passing closest to us (just 37.5 million miles, or 60 million kilometers) on April 29. To see the comet, look low in the western sky during late evening twilight. The comet will get lower and lower on the horizon until April 4; after that it will be visible in the early morning sky in the east.

Ikeya-Zhang, which was discovered in early February by a Japanese and a Chinese astronomer, was likely seen in 1661 on an earlier journey through the solar system.

See Also

The Path of the Comet C/2002 C1 (Ikeya-Zhang) by Bernard Friberg.

Sky & Telescope Article “Comet Ikeya-Zhang at its Brightest?”


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