Comet Section        


March 4, 2023 – ALPO Comet News for March 2023

After starting 2023 off with a bang, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is still the brightest comet in the sky but fading fast this month from around magnitude 8 to 10. Southern observers will still be able to observe last summer’s brightest comet, C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), which will fade from 8th to 9th magnitude. Up north, northerners have 9th magnitude comets C/2020 V2 (ZTF) and C/2022 A2 (PANSTARRS) to themselves.

Rounding out the comets with those expected to be between magnitude 10 and 12 are 81P/Wild, C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), and C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS).

A recently announced new discovery, C/2023 A3 (Tsuchishan-ATLAS), looks like a promising comet for 2024. While we still have months to watch Tsuchishan-ATLAS develop, it may become a naked eye object in September and October of 2024 though it will be located close to the Sun at its best.

Last month the ALPO Comets Section received 112 magnitude estimates and 91 images/sketches of comets C/2022 U2 (ATLAS), C/2022 P1 (NEOWISE), C/2022 E3 (ZTF), C/2022 A2 (PANSTARRS), C/2021 Y1 (ATLAS), C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2020 S4 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 T4 (ATLAS), C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 452P/Sheppard-Jewitt, 364P/PANSTARRS, 362P/(457175) 2008 GO98, 272P/NEAT, 230P/LINEAR, 179P/Jedicke, 118P/Shoemaker-Levy, 113P/Spitaler, 96P/Machholz, 81P/Wild, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, and 12P/Pons-Brooks. A big thanks to our recent contributors: Salvador Aguirre, Michael Amato, Dan Bartlett, Michel Besson, Todd Bossaller, Denis Buczynski, J. J. Gonzalez, Jose Guilherme de Souza Aguiar, Christian Harder, Scott Harrington, Carl Hergenrother, Eliot Herman, Rik Hill, Michael Jäger, John Maikner, Martin Mobberley, Charles Morris, Mike Olason, Phill Parslow, Ludovic Perbet, Clement Planchon, Olivier Planchon, Uwe Pilz, Allan Rahill, Efrain Morales Rivera, Michael Rosolina, Gregg Ruppel, Anaël Semiat, Richard Schmude, Jr., Chris Schur, Greg T. Shanos, Willian Souza, and Chris Wyatt.

The monthly ALPO Comet News PDF can be found here. A shorter version of this report is posted on a dedicated Cloudy Nights forum. All are encouraged to join the discussion over at Cloudy Nights.

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