Comet Section        


May 1, 2023 – ALPO Comet News for May 2023

We are in a bit of a bright comet drought at the moment. Most of the brighter comets of early 2023 have now faded with only one still brighter than magnitude 10, C/2020 V2 (ZTF), which is too close to the Sun in May to observe.

There are several fainter comets visible between magnitude 10 and 12 this month. Two new comets to this newsletter are breaking the magnitude 12 barrier on their way to becoming even brighter in the months ahead. Though C/2021 T4 has been unobservable for much of the last 3 months, its brightening trend up till January suggested a peak brightness around magnitude 8.0 in July. Newly discovered C/2023 E1 (ATLAS) is on an 85-year orbit and has rapidly brightened to around 12-13th magnitude. It should peak at magnitude 10 or even brighter in July and August.

Last month the ALPO Comets Section received 108 magnitude estimates and 16 images/sketches of comets C/2023 E1 (ATLAS), P/2023 B1 (PANSTARRS), C/2023 A3 (Tsuchishan-ATLAS), C/2022 E3 (ZTF), C/2022 A2 (PANSTARRS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 T4 (ATLAS), C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), P/2010 WJ5 (Catalina), P/2010 VH95 (Catalina), 452P/Shappard-Jewitt, 393P/Spacewatch-Hill, 364P/PANSTARRS, 299P/Catalina-PANSTARRS, 263P/Gibbs, 237P/LINEAR, 199P/Shoemaker, 133P/Elst-Pizarro, 130P/McNaught-Hughes, 99P/Kowal, 96P/Machholz, 81P/Wild, 77P/Longmore, 71P/Clark, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, 19P/Borrelly, and 12P/Pons-Brooks. 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 foundĀ here. A shorter version of this report is posted on a dedicatedĀ Cloudy Nights forum. All are encouraged to join the discussion over at Cloudy Nights.

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