Observation by Nick James: C/2022 E3 (ZTF) tail disconnection

Uploaded by

Nick James


Nick James


2023 Jan 19 - 04:58


2023 Jan 19 - 05:06


C/2022 E3

  • ASI6200MM + Celestron HD11



Chelmsford, UK

Target name

C/2022 E3 (ZTF)


C/2022 E3 (ZTF) tail disconnection

About this image

The ion tail of C/2022 E3 (ZTF) shows a disconnection event this morning. The ion tail is caused by ions formed in the coma which get entrained in the solar wind and so are accelerated away from the Sun. The velocity of the solar wind is several hundred km/s and so the ion tail is very dynamic. Every now and again variations in the solar magnetic field cause the ion tail to break away and move downstream independent of the comet. This animation shows such a disconnection event moving down the tail. A new ion tail forms close in to the coma and, at the moment, this is a highly collimated, thin line.  

This animation consists of 13 frames of approximately 5 minutes each obtained between 03:49 - 05:00 on 2023-01-19.

Files associated with this observation
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Simon Kidd
Simon Kidd, 2023 Jan 19 - 09:50 UTC

Really great image!!

Nick James
Nick James, 2023 Jan 19 - 22:06 UTC

Simon. Thanks. I wrote the software to do these animations a couple of years ago for C/2020 F3 (here is an example from then). I'm pleased it still works!

Nick James
Nick James, 2023 Jan 20 - 07:54 UTC

Here's the equivalent timelapse from this morning (Jan 20):


Much less going on.

This run of clear mornings is killing me.

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