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Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)

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#1 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 11:28 PM

I’m currently observing Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) using the Naylor Observatory’s 17” f/15 classical Cassegrain at 116, 170, and 216x. The eighth-magnitude comet is still fairly low in altitude and the transparency isn’t the best but I can definitely see the coma as a faint, diffuse glow. Comet ATLAS is located to the southwest of Mintaka (Delta Orionis) at this time.
 

https://www.heavens-...ed&alt=0&tz=UCT

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  • Comet ATLAS M3 Heavens Above 11-9-20 PM.jpg

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#2 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 11:44 PM

There’s a finder chart posted at https://cometchasing...ets/2020_M3.pdf


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#3 star drop

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 07:24 PM

Last night I accidentally fat fingered my tablet screen and Sky Safari showed this comet. So I went looking for it and easily found it using 88x in a 25" telescope. It was close to a brighter star but I could make out a moderately condensed core with a decent sized coma. I did maybe see a slight hint of a brightening off to the upper right which might have been a tail or an effect of the nearby bright star. As Dave said the transparency was decent but not the best. The flame nebula was dimmer than usual and the outer spiral arm of M81 was not seen.


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#4 chrysalis

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 08:36 PM

http://www.aerith.ne...0M3/2020M3.html



#5 bumm

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 08:13 AM

I BARELY picked it up with handheld 20X80 binoculars last night, but only by knowing exactly where to look.  I found the position on the Comet Chasing chart, then used FOV circles to nail the field in the Cambridge Double Star Atlas with the binoculars.  I couldn't detect it at all with 10x50's.  I failed completely the night before when Orion was a bit lower but I had to avoid the moonrise.

                                                                       Marty


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#6 Stardust Dave

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 12:38 PM

My last observation of ATLAS M3  11/9/2020 -11/10 2020 was in 13" from about 23:40 - 00:20

Orion high in the sky ,colder than previous night. NELM was down to about 5.5 ( 6.0- 6.2) is typical.

 

Atlas M3 was easily picked up @ 70X in the 13" ,  125X showed the condensed core and coma well.

No hint of any tail or color. Packed in after a short time. Wasn't dressed for the cold.

Again nothing in 7X50's.

 

Is there a link to all the great CN images of the Comet going thru this great region ?

This might be one of us ...https://twitter.com/Komet123Jager


Edited by Stardust Dave, 11 November 2020 - 12:40 PM.

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#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 03:34 PM

I BARELY picked it up with handheld 20X80 binoculars last night, but only by knowing exactly where to look.  I found the position on the Comet Chasing chart, then used FOV circles to nail the field in the Cambridge Double Star Atlas with the binoculars.  I couldn't detect it at all with 10x50's.  I failed completely the night before when Orion was a bit lower but I had to avoid the moonrise.

                                                                       Marty

I was unable to see Comet ATLAS M3 that night using Canon IS 15x50s.


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#8 bumm

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 08:06 AM

I ran out again last night with 20x80's to try and catch a second look.  Even wore red goggles for awhile beforehand.  The night was clear, but maybe not quite as "pretty" as the night before.  This time, I saw nothing.  Looking back down at where I'd "detected" it before to see if I was only seeing some background fuzz, I couldn't see anything either.  Very borderline for me, my conditions, and my 20x80's.

                                                                                            Marty


Edited by bumm, 12 November 2020 - 08:07 AM.

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#9 Don H

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 01:44 PM

I observed M3 ATLAS two nights ago using my 4.5" f/4 reflector, and again last night using my 10" f/6.3. It was a relatively easy comet to find with the 4.5", but it lacked much color and definition. The 10" provided a bit of green hue and much more detail, as would be expected. It is moving quite a bit each night, as the charts provided in the posts above indicate. So don't expect to see it where you might have seen it on a prior night. An interesting note is that the Heavens Above website listed it at mag 8+ Tuesday, down from 7 something the previous day. Last night, HA had it at 7.6 again, although I would have guessed it was not quite that bright. However, today HA has it at MAG 9.8!!! Unfortunately, it looks like it might be cloudy here tonight, so I will have to wait until the weekend for another observation. It should be interesting to see if it brightens again, and if these reported mag changes are confirmed.  


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#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 02:40 PM

There's more on Comet ATLAS M3 and other current comets at https://skyandtelesc...#comment-253957


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#11 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 04:17 PM

Imaged M3 ATLAS with the Slooh C2wf Scope from Chile. Image taken on the morning of 11-11-20.

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  • C 2020 M3 ATLAS C2wf 11-11-20r.png

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#12 bumm

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Posted 13 November 2020 - 01:53 AM

OK, I had a score to settle with this thing.  I'd been out three times with 20x80 binoculars, and "detected" it once, and couldn't see a thing twice.  This can get a guy wondering if he really saw the thing, or was using averted imagination.  I get no pleasure in lying to myself, and nobody else really cares if I see this thing or not. 

     SO ~ Tonight after checking the chart on Comet Chasing I dressed up in my wookie suit since it was 21 degrees F out, and headed out with my venerable C8 at 11:00pm.  The comet being in starry Orion, I had no trouble finding the spot.  I looked and looked, but no comet.  Huh?  It's not a spectacular showpiece, but it isn't that dim...  I looked some more, running up and down the track on the Comet Chasing chart.  Nothing.  I was getting frustrated.  I was dealing with some annoying light pollution, and there was just enough moisture in the air to put little halos around the stars, and I was freezing my hands turning RA and Dec knobs, but this thing oughta show...  After an hour, out of some degree of desperation I tracked further south...  and there was a nice little glow, just west of the star just below φ...  But the Comet Chasing site says their charts are marked in Universal Time, and this was more like my time, CST...  I looked at my little fuzzball some more and came back in.

     I checked the Uranometria 2000 to see if there was anything else in that location...  Nope.  Then I looked at the Heavens Above chart that shows the comet in real time, and there it was, right where I saw it. :)  This was kind of gratifying to me, since I'd sort of "discovered" the comet where I wasn't really expecting it.  Checking Stellarium, the little star below φ glories in the title of HIP 25443  A.

     Now I feel better about the whole thing, and I've definitely seen Comet Atlas.  Thank you, Heavens Above, thank you HIP 25443 A, and thank you Comet Chasing, I've just gotta get those times straight.

                                                                                                    Marty


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#13 Cames

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 01:50 PM

Last night was the charm for me using 20x80's.  Our skies have been cloud-bound for the past few days while that big storm passed. Finally had a moderately clear night.

 

I expected it to be much more obvious. I had a general idea of it's path from seeing Sky&Telescope's online chart a few days ago.  Initial scan was fruitless so I moved over to one of my favorites, M78, which is of a similar magnitude.  M78 appeared more washed out than normal so observing conditions were a factor.  With that in mind I returned to search again for C/Atlas.  This time, I used the averted gaze technique to search even the slightest hint of sky brightening.  Sure enough I saw a suspected glow dorsal of an asterism that is shaped like the main stars of the constellation Delphinus. After a good long look all around it,  I went inside to consult my SkyTools digital atlas after performing a 'current events update'.  Sure enough, I had picked up the comet essentially unaided save for the chart I saw a few days ago.

 

It was noticeable averted gaze and without a prominent nucleus.  The longer I looked at it, the more noticeable it became.  It still never got as noticeable as M78 for me even though it is reportedly a little brighter object.  I think the reason for the challenge is that its glow is spread over such a great area that its published brightness ends up being deceptive.  Integrated magnitude?

------------

C


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#14 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 04:08 PM

I observed Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) again last night using the observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain.  The comet was rather faint and diffuse.  I used magnifications of 116, 170, and 216x. 

 

I was unable to see the comet using the 5" f/5 finder scope at 25x or with Canon IS 15x50s.

Not long after I located the comet clouds began to fill the sky.  

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  • 17-inch Belt of Orion 11-14-20 AM Processed.jpg

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#15 Special Ed

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Posted 14 November 2020 - 04:19 PM

Conditions were not the best for comet observing for me last night--poor transparency and intermittent clouds hampered my view of this very diffuse comet and the transparency seemed to affect the darkness, too.  I'm not sure my diameter estimate is accurate because of all that, but the SWAN filter did appear to double the size.

 

My magnitude estimate is dimmer than most estimates I've seen--maybe also because of conditions.  I compared the coma to the pair of stars labeled 10.3 and 8.7 mag using the defocused star method.  It seemed much dimmer than the 8.7 star.

 

The comet was easy for me to find, using my telrad, north of that Delphinus-like asterism that Cames mentioned and a couple of degrees south of Bellatrix.  I could not see it in my 10x50 finder scope and I doubt I could have seen it with my 12x36 Canon IS binoculars given the conditions.  Here's a sketch.

 

C_2020_M3_ATLAS_2020.14.11_composite.v2.jpg


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#16 NeilMac

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 11:27 AM

How did you find it on SkySafari, does not show up on mine and cant search for it ? Have plus/Pro versions.

 

Last night I accidentally fat fingered my tablet screen and Sky Safari showed this comet. 



#17 mfalls

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 12:57 AM

How did you find it on SkySafari, does not show up on mine and cant search for it ? Have plus/Pro versions.

Using SkySafari Pro select Search, Brightest Comets, then scroll down to C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)



#18 johnpd

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 02:22 AM

I was out Saturday evening and was able to take an image of the comet. I also tried my 16x70 binoculars. I was able to see it fairly easily with the comet just below Bellatrix. For the image I used an ES127ED refractor @ f/4.9 and a Nikon D7500 camera stacking several 30s images in Deep Sky Stacker.

 

JohnD

 

DSS_Autosave_RT_Adj-2_rsz.jpg


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#19 NeilMac

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 10:22 AM

Nothing shows up even when I do the data update.

 

Using SkySafari Pro select Search, Brightest Comets, then scroll down to C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)



#20 NYJohn S

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 11:04 AM

I kept forgetting to check for this but on Sat night 11-14, I finally remembered to take a look with my 102mm refractor. It was located just to the SSW of Bellatrix. It was faint but not a particularly difficult observation once I nailed down the location. It showed as diffuse round spot at 44x & 81x. 130x seemed to show a brightening near the center but the diffuse coma showed better at 44x & 81x. After spotting it at the higher magnifications I was able to see it as a very faint spot at 30x. It was just a round spot with no visible tail at all magnifications. This was on a night with above average transparency. 

 

It looks like it's path will take it near some interesting objects like M38 in Auriga. Looking forward to following it as it moves through the sky.


Edited by NYJohn S, 16 November 2020 - 12:36 PM.

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#21 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 12:08 PM

The comet was easy for me to find, using my telrad, north of that Delphinus-like asterism that Cames mentioned and a couple of degrees south of Bellatrix.

Here's a screen capture from Heavens Above showing that asterism and the comet at the time I was observing it.

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  • Comet ATLAS M3 Heavens Above 11-14-20 AM.jpg

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#22 star drop

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 06:42 PM

Nothing shows up even when I do the data update.

 


Using SkySafari Pro select Search, Brightest Comets, then scroll down to C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)

It is darkened in the list until it rises which is 7:23 for tonight for me (in Western New York State). It is the eleventh comet on my list which has not been updated in a while.

 

I found it when trying to expand the field with two fingers instead of doing a search. One finger hit my tablet screen first and brought it up.



#23 NeilMac

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 06:51 PM

I used Stellarium to find it.

11th on my list is 88p/Howell.



#24 LivingNDixie

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 12:53 PM

I have been out at around 9pm on 11/15 and 11/16. On the 15th I found the comet. It was not easy though, however I do have some neighbors with party lights and Christmas lights that don’t help.

On the 16th this comet was much harder for me. Not sure if it was transparency or what.

Glad I got out to see it. All it was for me was a small round fuzz. Reminded me a lot of M78 also in Orion.

I was using a 8in dob at 50X.
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#25 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 17 November 2020 - 02:30 PM

I observed Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) once again last night using the Naylor Observatory's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 170x (38mm Agena SWA).  The transparency was rather good. 

The comet, as well as Orion, was higher in altitude at the time than during my previous observations and was far easier to see.  The coma appeared to be somewhat asymmetric.  I was not able to detect the comet, which was located to the northeast of Bellatrix (Gamma Orionis), using the 5" f/5 finder scope at 45x (14mm Explore Scientific 82 degree) or with Canon IS 15x50s.

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  • Comet ATLAS M3 Heavens Above 11-17-20 AM.jpg

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