On Wednesday, February 13, comet Iwamoto (C / 2018 Y1) approached Earth for the first time in more than a thousand years. Enrico Kolzani of the Astronomical Observatory Sormano captured the guest as she passed through the outer arms of the spiral galaxy NGC 2903.
“Two celestial bodies met in the constellation Leo, when the comet made a rare visit to the solar system. They created a beautiful couple, albeit briefly, ”said Kolzani.
Galaxy NGC 2903 was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in November 1784. At that time, the comet was unknown and remained unknown for another 235 years, until in December 2018 it was discovered by the Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Iwamoto.
Comet Iwamoto is a traveler from outside the Kuiper belt. It comes from the extreme Trans-Neptune Objects (ETNO) area, located more than five times farther from the Sun than Pluto, and may be related to other mysterious inhabitants of this region, such as 90377 Sedna, 2012 VP113 Biden and 2015 TG387 Goblin.
The last time Comet Iwamoto, which follows a highly elliptical 1371-year orbit, passed through the inner region of the solar system around 648, and now it will arrive no earlier than 3390 years. This means that February 13th was a really rare night.