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ALPO Comet News for January 2020

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#1 Carl H.

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 03:04 PM

ALPO COMET NEWS FOR JANUARY 2020

By Carl Hergenrother - 2020-January-1
 


 

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020!

 

The full monthly ALPO Comet News PDF can be found on the ALPO Comet Section website (http://www.alpo-astr....org/cometblog/). The longer version includes additional images, sketches and brightness estimates. 

 

The brightest comet as 2020 begins is long-period comet C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS). It is possible that PANSTARRS will be the brightest comet of the year even though it is only predicted to peak around magnitude 8. This month, PANSTARRS is nicely placed for northern observers in the evening sky. CCD observers can observe interstellar visitor 2I/Borisov at 15-16th magnitude though it is likely to start fading. Another comet of interest to CCD imagers is short-period comet 289P/Blanpain which passes within 0.09 au of Earth this month. How bright this comet gets is uncertain as it is a faint, outburst prone object.

 

Looking Back on 2019

2019 saw the announcement of 48 new comet discoveries and 17 returning comet recoveries. That number will undoubtably climb as a few possible comets are still listed on the Minor Planet Center’s Possible Comet Confirmation Page.

 

The brightest comet of 2019 was returning short-period comet 46P/Wirtanen which started the year at 5th magnitude after peaking at 4th magnitude in December 2018. The 2nd brightest comet was long-period comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto), an amateur CCD discovery which peaked at 6th magnitude in February. In total 6 comets reached magnitude 10.0 or brighter. In addition to the aforementioned, comets 38P/Stephan-Oterma, 64P/Swift-Gehrels, C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS), and C/2018 W2 (Africano) reached single digits on the magnitude scale.

 

Professional asteroid hunting surveys ATLAS and PANSTARRS tied for the most comet discoveries with 18 apiece. The Catalina Sky Survey came in third with 7 new finds. Amateur Gennady Borisov used his CCD equipped 0.65-m f/1.5 astrograph to discover 2 comets. One of his discoveries, 2I/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was the comet event of the year as it is the 2nd recognized interstellar object and 1st interstellar comet.

 

Looking Ahead to 2020
Three comets are expected to be brighter than magnitude 10. One, C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS), has already reached that milestone as 2020 begins. The other two are short-period comets 88P/Howell and frequent visitor 2P/Encke. You can read more about C/2017 T2 below. As for the others, Encke reaches perihelion in late June at 0.34 au. This return will be a very poor one for northern observers but a nice one for southern observers, especially after perihelion. Howell comes to perihelion in late September at 1.35 au when it should be 8-9th magnitude. You can hear me talk with more about these comets and a few fainter ones of interest (17P/Holmes, 141P/Machholz, 249P/LINEAR) on the ALPO’s The Observers Notebook – The Comets of 2020 podcast at https://soundcloud.c...serversnotebook.

 

Bright Comets (magnitude < 10.0)


C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) – C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) will be a nice object for visual observers for the next few months. Last month, the ALPO Comet Section received images, sketches and magnitude estimates from a number of observers (Salvador Aguirre, Michel Deconinck, J. J. Gonzalez, Carl Hergenrother, John Maikner, Martin Mobberley, John D. Sabia, and Chris Wyatt). The comet was estimated to be magnitude 9.5 on Dec. 3.04 (J. J. Gonzalez), 10.5 on Dec. 6.00 (Salvador Aguirre), 9.8 on Dec. 16.11 (Carl Hergenrother), 9.9 on Dec. 17.16 (Carl Hergenrother), and 9.7 on Dec. 27.92 (J. J. Gonzalez). It is still a compact object with a coma diameter of 2-4’. CCD images and visual observations continue to show the development of a nice narrow tail.

 

This month, C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) will slowly brighten from around magnitude 9.5 to 9.2 as its approaches a 2020 May 4 perihelion at 1.62 au. C/2017 T2 spends all month in the northern constellation of Perseus. It is well placed in the evening sky for northern observers. but very low or below the horizon for southern hemisphere observers. During the last week of January, C/2017 T2 will be located within a few degrees of the Double Cluster making for some nice wide-field views.

 

C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS)

T = 2020-May-04  q = 1.62 au                                     Max El
Long-Period comet - dynamically new                               (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-01   9.5   03 25  +55 12   2.296   1.521   131    Per    75    0 
2020-01-06   9.4   03 10  +55 55   2.252   1.529   126    Per    74    0
2020-01-11   9.4   02 56  +56 28   2.210   1.541   120    Per    73    0
2020-01-16   9.3   02 44  +56 53   2.168   1.558   115    Per    73    0
2020-01-21   9.3   02 33  +57 15   2.126   1.577   110    Per    73    0
2020-01-26   9.2   02 24  +57 34   2.086   1.599   105    Per    72    0
2020-01-31   9.2   02 17  +57 54   2.046   1.622   100    Per    69    0
2020-02-05   9.1   02 12  +58 16   2.008   1.645    96    Per    66    0

 

Faint Comets (between magnitude 10.0 and 13.0)


C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) - Comet C/2018 N2 (ASASSN) was discovered back in July 2018 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) program. It is now past its 2019 November 11 perihelion (q = 3.12 au). The section received images of this comet from John D. Sabia as well as 2 magnitude estimates from J. J. Gonzalez (11.1 with a 1.5’ coma on the Dec 3 and 11.5 with a 2’ coma on the Dec 27). Similar to C/2017 T2, it is well placed for northern observers as it moves through Andromeda in the evening sky. The comet should now be fading as it is on the wrong side of perihelion and moving away from Earth.

 

C/2018 N2 (ASASSN)

T = 2019-Nov-11  q = 3.12 au                                     Max El
Long-Period comet - dynamically old                               (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-01  12.2   23 29  +39 43   3.164   2.978    91    And    73    0
2020-01-06  12.3   23 29  +39 58   3.172   3.053    87    And    69    0
2020-01-11  12.4   23 29  +40 17   3.180   3.127    84    And    64    0
2020-01-16  12.4   23 30  +40 40   3.190   3.200    80    And    60    0
2020-01-21  12.5   23 32  +41 07   3.200   3.271    77    And    56    0
2020-01-26  12.6   23 34  +41 37   3.211   3.339    73    And    52    0
2020-01-31  12.6   23 36  +42 11   3.222   3.406    70    And    48    0
2020-02-05  12.7   23 38  +42 48   3.234   3.470    68    And    44    0

 

Fainter Comets of Interest (fainter than magnitude 13.0)


29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann – 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann was discovered photographically in 1927 by German astronomer Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann. The duo discovered 4 comets together, three short-period comets (29P, 31P and 73P) and a long-period comet shared with Leslie Peltier (C/1930 D1). Chris Wyatt made an unsuccessful attempt to visually observe 29P on December 27 (fainter than 15.7). As outburst prone as this comet has been recently, it probably won’t stay that faint for long. A CCD image by John D. Sabia from December 23rd shows the comet as a small faint object.

 

Last month we noted that Richard Miles at the British Astronomical Society (BAA) is leading an effort to continually monitor 29P and its outbursts via CCD photometry. With 29P well placed for northern observers in the evening sky, CCD observers are asked to consider contributing to Richard’s endeavor. You can find more information at the BAA’s “Observing the outbursting comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann” page ( https://britastro.org/node/18562 ).

 

29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

T = 2019-Mar-07  q = 5.77 au                                     Max El
Centaur comet - 14.8-yr orbital period                            (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-01  12-14  00 28  +12 51   5.784   5.666    91    Psc    62   16
2020-01-06  12-14  00 30  +12 54   5.784   5.747    87    Psc    61   14 
2020-01-11  12-14  00 32  +12 59   5.785   5.827    82    Psc    59   11
2020-01-16  12-14  00 34  +13 05   5.785   5.907    78    Psc    56    9
2020-01-21  12-14  00 36  +13 13   5.786   5.985    73    Psc    53    6
2020-01-26  12-14  00 38  +13 23   5.787   6.062    69    Psc    50    4
2020-01-31  12-14  00 41  +13 34   5.787   6.137    64    Psc    46    2 
2020-02-05  12-14  00 44  +13 46   5.788   6.208    60    Psc    42    0

 

2I/2019 Q4 (Borisov) – The first bona fide interstellar comet, 2I/2019 Q4 (Borisov), was discovered by Gennady Borisov on August 30 with a 0.65-m f/1.5 astrograph of his own making at MARGO observatory near Nauchnij, Crimea. Last month, the Comet Section received images and magnitude estimates from Rodolfo Artolaon, Charles Bell, Martin Mobberley, Marcos Santucho, and Chris Wyatt.

 

The comet passed perihelion on December 8 at 2.01 au. Chris Wyatt made two visual sighting in early December and placed the comet at magnitude 15.6 (Dec 4) and 15.7 (Dec 6). More recent visual magnitude estimates posted on the comet-ml list and COBS place the comet between magnitude 14.5 and 15.0. As the first interstellar comet, we should be on the lookout for any brightness surprises. But if it acts like a typical comet, fading should commence this month as it moves away from the Earth and Sun. The comet is rapidly moving south in Centaurus and will become invisible to most northern hemisphere observers. On the other hand, it is nicely placed for folks in the southern hemisphere.

 

2I/2019 Q4 (Borisov)
T = 2019-Dec-08  q = 2.01 au                                     Max El
Interstellar comet                                                (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-01  15.2   12 05  -36 04   2.073   1.939    83    Cen    13   56
2020-01-06  15.3   12 13  -39 36   2.104   1.947    85    Cen    10   61
2020-01-11  15.3   12 20  -42 58   2.140   1.962    86    Cen     7   65
2020-01-16  15.4   12 26  -46 10   2.180   1.982    87    Cen     3   68
2020-01-21  15.5   12 32  -49 11   2.226   2.007    89    Cen     0   71
2020-01-26  15.7   12 38  -51 59   2.276   2.036    90    Cen     0   73
2020-01-31  15.8   12 43  -54 35   2.330   2.069    92    Cen     0   73
2020-02-05  15.9   12 48  -56 59   2.388   2.106    94    Cen     0   72

 

289P/Blanpain – It seems like every year or so a short-period comet passes within 0.1 au of Earth. In the past 6 years, we’ve seen the following close approaches: P/2016 BA14 PANSTARRS (2016 Mar 22 @ 0.024 au), 252P/LINEAR (2016 Mar 21 @ 0.036 au), 209P/LINEAR (2014 May 29 @ 0.056 au), 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (2017 Feb 11 @ 0.083 au), and 46P/Wirtanen (2018 Dec 16 @ 0.078 au). This month 289P/Blanpain joins the list as its passes 0.089 au of Earth on January 11th.

 

Coming this close to Earth doesn’t always produce a bright comet and it is likely Blanpain will remain very faint. Case in point, in 2003 it came even closer (0.025 au) and never got brighter than 14th magnitude. While it is not expected to get bright, it is outburst prone. Jean-Jacques Blanpain discovered 289P at 6th magnitude in November 1819 when it was likely experiencing an outburst. It went unobserved for the next 194 years until re-discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in November 2003. Observations in 2005 found it to still be active, albeit at a very low level. In July 2013 while far from perihelion (3.9 au vs perihelion at ~1.0 au), Blanpain experienced a major ~9 magnitude outburst and brightened from 26th to 17th magnitude.

 

Last month Blanpain reached perihelion at 0.96 au. It spends all of January within 0.18 au of Earth and 1.13 au of the Sun. It is solely a northern hemisphere object as it races through Pegasus (Jan 1-5), Andromeda (5-9), Cassiopeia (9-16), Camelopardalis (16-26), Ursa Major (26-28), Lynx (28-29) and Ursa Major again (29-31) in the evening sky. The brightness prediction below is for the inactive nucleus (a cometary runt with a small diameter of only ~400 m) and provides a faint limit. If the comet is more active it may be magnitudes brighter than this prediction.

 

289P/Blanpain
T = 2019-Dec-20  q = 0.96 au                                     Max El
Short-period comet – 5.3-yr orbital period                        (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-01  19.0   23 25  +19 35   0.972   0.115    81    Peg    62    1 
2020-01-06  18.4   23 51  +34 58   0.987   0.098    89    And    72    0
2020-01-11  17.9   00 45  +53 43   1.006   0.091   101    Cas    73    0
2020-01-16  17.6   02 57  +68 53   1.030   0.097   115    Cas    61    0
2020-01-21  17.7   06 21  +69 56   1.057   0.114   127    Cam    60    0
2020-01-26  17.9   08 04  +62 46   1.088   0.139   135    Cam    68    0
2020-01-31  18.3   08 46  +55 49   1.123   0.169   141    UMa    75    0
2020-02-05  18.6   09 06  +50 16   1.159   0.203   145    UMa    80    0

 

New Discoveries, Recoveries and Other Comets in the News

 

Newly Numbered Periodic Comet – The following periodic comet was numbered in the latest batch of the Minor Planet Circulars (MPC 118229).

 

  393P/2009 SK280 = 2019 S5 (Spacewatch-Hill)

 

This comet is ALPO Solar Coordinator Rik Hill’s 10th numbered period comet. Congratulations, Rik! His other numbered comets include 195P, 211P, 232P, 310P, 326P, 357P, 369P, 375P, and 385P, all of which were named P/Hill.

 

P/2019 X1 (Pruyne) – Theodore Pruyne used the Mount Lemmon Survey 1.5-m reflector to discover this comet on December 2. At discovery, the comet was 19th magnitude with a 15” coma and 16” long tail. A pre-discovery observation from November 29 were found by Pan-STARRS. Comet Pruyne is a Jupiter family short-period comet with a period of 15.3 years. Perihelion was on 2019 August 2 at 4.33 au. The comet should peak in brightness 19th magnitude) in early January.

 

P/2019 W1 (PANSTARRS) – The Pan-STARRS survey used their Pan-STARRS2 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien reflector on Haleakala in Maui to discover this 20th magnitude short-period comet on November 29. Additional pre-discovery observations were found back to August 2018 when the comet was as faint as 24th magnitude. It should peak at 19th magnitude this month. Perihelion occurred back on 2019 May 8 at 3.34 au. The comet is due back at perihelion in January 2029.

 

In addition to the above discoveries and recoveries, the following objects are designated as asteroids but have comet-like orbits. This doesn’t mean these objects are cometary in origin, but it makes them a good group to watch. Unfortunately, most remain very faint objects. My search criteria are based on the JPL Small-Body Database of orbits and is limited to: 1) asteroidal objects with Jupiter MOID < 0.3 au, but not Hilda (3.85 < a < 4.05 au) or Jupiter Trojan (5.03 < a < 5.43 au) objects and 2) possess a condition code (to filter out uncertain, short arc orbits).

 

Object     Disc.   Peri. Period   H    Max Brightness   Discoverer
           Date    Dist. (years)
2019 WV6   Nov 29  1.38    5.62  19.4  20-in-Mar2020    WISE
2019 XY2   Dec 06  1.28    5.70  21.0  19-in-Dec2019    MountLemmon
2019 YN2   Dec 20  1.44    7.24  20.6  21-in-Feb2020    MountLemmon
2019 YY2   Dec 24  1.43    5.72  20.7  20-in-Feb2020    PANSTARRS

 

As always, the Comet Section is happy to receive all comet observations, whether textual descriptions, images, drawings, magnitude estimates, or spectra. Please send your observations via email to < carl.hergenrother @ alpo-astronomy.org >.


 

- Carl Hergenrother (ALPO Comet Section Coordinator)


Edited by Carl H., 01 January 2020 - 03:06 PM.

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#2 Zorbathegeek

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 04:34 PM

Happy New Year to you also Carl, and thanks for the continuing reports which are a great asset to beginners like me, as I'm sure they are to the more experienced. Here in the Southern Hemisphere with my modest equipment I will be trying for 249P/LINEAR in May, 2P/Encke and 2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) in June, 88P/Howell in August and 2019 N1 (ATLAS) in December. Thanks again. Ray.



#3 Carl H.

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:16 PM

Ray, thanks for the kind comments! Hopefully we'll get a few nice surprises this year to run the tally up. 



#4 Araguaia

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 07:52 AM

As for the others, Encke reaches perihelion in late June at 0.34 au. This return will be a very poor one for northern observers but a nice one for southern observers, especially after perihelion.

 

 

Really?  A bright comet peaking in my best month for clear skies, and in the southern hemisphere?  First time for me!!!  I thought dry season bright comets all lived in Perseus and such!  grin.gif


Edited by Araguaia, 02 January 2020 - 07:55 AM.


#5 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:53 AM

Carl, thanks for the latest ALPO Comet News. I just downloaded the longer version and enjoyed reading it. I look forward to your reports each month, keep up the great work!



#6 Carl H.

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 12:04 PM

Really?  A bright comet peaking in my best month for clear skies, and in the southern hemisphere?  First time for me!!!  I thought dry season bright comets all lived in Perseus and such!  grin.gif

Well, it depends on your definition of bright. Encke will probably be around 7-8th magnitude at its best as it races out of the bright glow of dusk in the evening sky. It will be fading rapidly though as it climbs higher in the sky.

 

The northern hemisphere is having a nice run of modestly bright comets. Then again, the southern hemisphere did get the last two great comets. Though that was after us northerners got the best views of Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp.


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#7 Aquarellia

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Posted 03 January 2020 - 11:43 AM

Hello Carl,

 

An happy new year to you

Thank you a lot for this monthly great work.  As other, I'm waiting your reports each month, keep up the good work!

Michel



#8 Special Ed

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 09:33 AM

Carl,

 

Thanks as always for the comet info and Happy New Year!



#9 Aquarellia

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 06:38 AM

And what about A10j7UG, probably soon named C/2019 Y6 (ATLAS) by MPC ?

It seems that this is a good candidate for May 2020 ?

This comet is probably a fragment of the great comet C/1844 Y1, the sun distance end of May : 0.25 AU.

Michel 



#10 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 09:57 AM

And what about A10j7UG, probably soon named C/2019 Y6 (ATLAS) by MPC ?

It seems that this is a good candidate for May 2020 ?

This comet is probably a fragment of the great comet C/1844 Y1, the sun distance end of May : 0.25 AU.

Michel 

One of the members of Slooh Robotic Observatory just imaged C/2019 Y6 ATLAS and estimated the comet just below 18th magnitude.


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#11 Carl H.

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 10:55 AM

NEW COMET - C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)

 

The latest new comet discovery announcement is interesting for a number of reasons. C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS) was discovered on 2019 December 16 UT with Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System 0.5-m f/2 astrograph at Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii. It is a long-period comet with perihelion on 2020 March 15 at 0.84 au.

 

What is most interesting about C/2019 Y1 is that it is not the first comet to be detected on this orbit. C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS) appears to be the 4th member of a comet family associated with C/1988 A1 (Liller), C/1996 Q1 (Tabur), and C/2015 F3 (SWAN). C/1988 A1 (Liller) was a nice well-observed binocular comet that reached 5th magnitude in April 1988 even though the comet only approached within 1.22 au of Earth. As the brightest member of the family observed so far, it is possible Liller is the parent comet with the other objects resulting from one or more splitting events.

 

Eight years after Liller, C/1996 Q1 (Tabur) was found on a similar orbit. Tabur came closer to Earth with a minimum Earth-comet distance of 0.42 au. It also peaked at 5th magnitude but then experienced a nucleus disruption event a few weeks before perihelion and rapidly faded from view. The third comet in the group, C/2015 F3 (SWAN) was discovered 12 days after its perihelion. At that time it was around 10th magnitude. Though it rapidly faded, whether it also disintegrated is in question.

 

Since discovery a number of follow-up observations have been made with photometry ranging from a faint magnitude 20.1 to a brighter 14.8. Note, even the brightest estimates makes this a relatively faint comet. The Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams has the comet peaking at only 12th magnitude in early April (brightness parameters from CBET 4708 of H=12.5 and 2.5n=8). Hopefully we’ll have a better idea of how bright this comet is, and will get, when the Moon leaves the evening sky and visual observers get on it.

 

Currently, C/2019 Y1 is an evening object observable from both hemispheres. Southern hemisphere observers will lose it in February as it moves north while Northern observers will be able to observe it for the coming months, though its elongation drops into the 20s for all of March. For now, this looks like a nice CCD or large aperture visual target. Based on it being a small fragment from a past splitting event and the past behavior of comets Tabur and SWAN, it is possible C/2019 Y1 will disintegrate.

 

C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)


T = 2020-Mar-15  q = 0.84 au                                     Max El

Long-Period comet - dynamically old                               (deg)
    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S


2020-01-06  14.7   23 52  -31 33   1.688   1.877    31    Scl    17   44 
2020-01-11  14.5   23 52  -28 13   1.622   1.874    31    Aqr    19   39
2020-01-16  14.4   23 53  -24 50   1.556   1.872    31    Aqr    21   34 
2020-01-21  14.2   23 54  -21 25   1.490   1.869    31    Aqr    22   29 
2020-01-26  14.1   23 56  -17 59   1.424   1.865    31    Aqr    22   25 
2020-01-31  13.9   23 59  -14 30   1.360   1.861    30    Aqr    22   20 
2020-02-05  13.7   00 01  -10 58   1.296   1.854    30    Psc    22   16 
2020-02-10  13.6   00 04  -07 24   1.233   1.846    29    Psc    21   12


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#12 Carl H.

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 11:00 AM

One of the members of Slooh Robotic Observatory just imaged C/2019 Y6 ATLAS and estimated the comet just below 18th magnitude.

I was also able to image A10j7UG = C/2019 Y? with the iTelescope T07 instrument at magnitude 18.6. I'll write up more when it is formally announced but it looks like an intrinsically faint comet. The good news is that it should be observable from the NH till perihelion and from the SH after perihelion. If it fails to survive its close brush with the Sun, we should have a near constant view of it.


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#13 Carl H.

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 02:13 PM

NEW COMET C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS)

 

ATLAS has found another comet that could be interesting to watch over the next few months. Formerly on the PCCP as object A10j7UG, the new comet has been officially designated C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). The comet was found by the ATLAS program on December 28 at 19th magnitude. Perihelion is on 2020 May 31 at a small 0.25 au.

 

The comet appears to be related to C/1844 Y1, the Great Comet of 1844. Note, this is not a return of the Great Comet of 1844 but may be a piece of that comet, and probably only a small piece of it. The 1844 comet was discovered at 0th magnitude only 3 days after perihelion when only 11 degrees from the Sun. Though now known as the Great Comet of 1844, at the time it was referred to as Comet Wilmot. Though E. Wilmot was not the first person to spot the comet, he was the first to notify the proper authorities.

 

C/2019 Y4 appears to be an intrinsically faint comet and may be as many as 8-9 magnitudes fainter than the 1844 comet. Depending on how rapidly it brightens, it could peak anywhere between 6th or 8th magnitude. But that's a 6th to 8th magnitude at perihelion when the object is only 11 degrees from the Sun. It will be even fainter when still far enough from the Sun to be easily observed.

 

The comet is currently located in Ursa Major (at a declination of +34) and will move north over the next few months to a maximum declination of +68 in early April. This makes the comet a well placed target for northern observers, but not so much for southern observers. Northern observers will be able to follow the comet till about 2 weeks before perihelion. Depending on how fast it brightens, it might become a visual targets in early May, emphasis on 'might'. Southern observers will be able to observe it some weeks after perihelion as its elongation slowly increases. 

 

As a faint (and presumably small) object, it is likely that C/2019 Y4 will disintegrate on its approach to perihelion. The comet has three things going against it. It is small, it makes a close approach to the Sun, and it is a piece of another comets. All three increase the likelihood that the object will fall apart. 

 

While not expected to be a bright object, C/2019 Y4 should be a very dynamic object and one worth keeping a constant eye (or detector) on for the next few months.

 

C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS)


T = 2020-May-31  q = 0.25 au                                     Max El

Long-Period comet - dynamically old                               (deg)

    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-12  18.1   11 50  +34 30   2.732   2.077   122    UMa    85   12
2020-01-17  17.9   11 51  +36 08   2.662   1.961   126    UMa    86   12
2020-01-22  17.6   11 52  +37 58   2.591   1.849   129    UMa    88   11
2020-01-27  17.4   11 51  +40 01   2.519   1.744   132    UMa    90   10
2020-02-01  17.2   11 49  +42 17   2.446   1.645   135    UMa    88    8
2020-02-06  17.0   11 47  +44 46   2.372   1.553   137    UMa    85    5
2020-02-11  16.7   11 42  +47 26   2.297   1.469   137    UMa    82    2


Edited by Carl H., 12 January 2020 - 02:14 PM.

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#14 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 04:00 PM

Carl, thanks for the info. waytogo.gif



#15 Carl H.

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:13 AM

Yet Another New, Somewhat Bright, Comet Discovery

 

CBET 4714 (http://www.cbat.eps..../CBET004714.txt, subscription required) reports the discovery of a long period comet low in the morning sky by Japanese amateur Masayuki Iwamoto. The new comet has not been officially announced by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) so it currently lacks a designation and name. But it should be the 3rd comet to bear Iwamoto's name. His other two comets were also found low in the morning sky [C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto) and C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto)]. 

 

The new comet was found on January 8 at magnitude 12.8 with a 10-cm Pentax 400-mm-f.l. f/4.0 lens and a Canon EOS 6D camera. Gennady Borisov made an independent discovery 5 days later with his 0.30-m f/1.5 astrograph at the MARGO observatory near Nauchnij, Crimea. 

 

Based on a preliminary orbit, perihelion was on January 9 at 0.96 au. The comet will slowly brighten over the next month to around magnitude 12.0 as it distance to the Earth drops to 0.87 au. It is moving north and will only be visible from the northern hemisphere till late in the year.

 

IF033


T = 2020-Jan-09  q = 0.96 au                                     Max El

Long-Period comet - dynamically old                               (deg)

    Date     Mag    R.A.   Decl.     r       d    Elong  Const  40N  40S

2020-01-14  12.5   17 57  +09 31   0.963   1.483    39    Oph    22    0
2020-01-19  12.4   18 01  +13 45   0.974   1.376    45    Oph    27    0
2020-01-24  12.3   18 07  +18 42   0.993   1.268    50    Her    32    0
2020-01-29  12.2   18 14  +24 33   1.019   1.163    55    Her    37    0
2020-02-03  12.1   18 24  +31 30   1.051   1.065    61    Lyr    42    0
2020-02-08  12.0   18 37  +39 45   1.088   0.979    67    Lyr    46    0
2020-02-13  12.0   18 57  +49 18   1.131   0.914    72    Dra    47    0
2020-02-18  12.1   19 29  +59 45   1.177   0.877    78    Dra    45    0


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#16 Carl H.

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:17 AM

I was able to observe C/2017 T2 (PANSTARRS) on January 12.07 and 14.10 UT. On both nights I placed it at magnitude 9.7. On the 12th, I measured a coma diameter of 4' though that value may have been augmented by a nearby 10th magnitude star. On the 14th, I measures the coma at 2.5' which matches what I has been observing in late December. Both observations were made with 30x125 binoculars.


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#17 Carl H.

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 01:42 PM

The Iwamoto comet has been officially announced as C/2020 A2 (Iwamoto) [MPEC 2020-A132, https://minorplanetc...K20/K20AD2.html

 

In case you're wondering, this year's A1 object is A/2020 A1, a 20th magnitude asteroid on a parabolic orbit.


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