The Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) in India has spotted two comets within two weeks. The first comet, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), was spotted in the first week of January 2023 and is making its closest approach after 50000 years. It will come closest to Earth in Early February. The second comet, Comet C/2020 V2 (ZTF), was spotted while scanning the deep sky and has a wide coma and a short tadpole-shaped dust tail. It came from the Oort Cloud but will exit the solar system given its hyperbolic orbit. The true colour image of the second comet was made from 3 individual R, G, & B filter images. The comet was first discovered in 2020 during the survey scan of the entire northern sky every two nights using an exceptionally wide-field CCD camera on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory. It is slowly brightening to a peak magnitude of about 9.0–9.5 in late January and again in late August–early September during its closest approach to Earth on September 17, 2023. The HCT is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore and was set up in 2000.
Today: December 4, 2023