Comet Section        


April 4, 2023 – ALPO Comet News for April 2023

The brightest comets in April are all expected to be around 9th magnitude, so not very bright. The lack of any bright comets is balanced by a number of interesting objects between magnitude 10 and 12. Two high numbered short-period comets, 237P/LINEAR and 364P/PANSTARRS, are making their best returns in years and should peak around 10-11th magnitude. Both comets have relatively large nuclei and are only active in the months around perihelion.

Of the 9th magnitude comets, there are three and they are all of the long-period variety. C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) is still a southern hemisphere only object and should become fainter than magnitude 10.0 for the first time in a year. C/2022 A2 (PANSTARRS) is a northern hemisphere only comet but will also become fainter than magnitude 10.0 early this month. The other 9th magnitude comet is C/2020 V2 (ZTF). With an upcoming solar conjunction in early May, everyone will have lost V2 to the glare of the Sun by mid-April. We’ll be able to pick V2 up again in June or July when it will still be a mid-9th magnitude object.

Last month the ALPO Comets Section received 101 magnitude estimates and 49 images/sketches of comets C/2022 E3 (ZTF), C/2022 A2 (PANSTARRS), C/2021 Y1 (ATLAS), C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 T4 (ATLAS), C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), C/2019 K7 (Smith), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 452P/Sheppard-Jewitt, 451P/Christensen, 423P/Lemmon, 364P/PANSTARRS, 263P/Gibbs, 256P/LINEAR, 237P/LINEAR, 211P/Hill, 169P/NEAT, 129P/Shoemaker-Levy, 96P/Machholz, 89P/Russell, 81P/Wild, 77P/Longmore, 48P/Johnson, 19P/Borrelly, 12P/Pons-Brooks, and 4P/Faye. A big thanks to our March contributors: Dan Bartlett, Denis Buczynski, J. J. Gonzalez, Jose Guilherme de Souza Aguiar, Christian Harder, Carl Hergenrother, John Maikner, Martin Mobberley, Mike Olason, Uwe Pilz, Efrain Morales Rivera, Gregg Ruppel, Greg T. Shanos, 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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