Comet Section        


December 3, 2023 – ALPO Comet News for December 2023

2023 ends with several comets brighter than magnitude 10. The most newsworthy is inbound Halley-type comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. Though still months from its April perihelion, its major outbursts have brightened it to 8-9th magnitude. Northern observers can catch 12P in the evening sky. Southern observers will be able to watch another evening comet as C/2023 H2 (Lemmon) rapidly fades from 9th to 12th magnitude after its close approach to Earth last month.

In the morning sky, 62P/Tsuchinshan will peak at around 8th magnitude while 103P/Hartley will be fading from 9th to 11th magnitude. Two other comets, 144P/Kushida and C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), will be brightening this month, with both around magnitude 10 by New Year’s and still brightening into 2024.

On December 9 at 35.14 au, comet 1P/Halley arrives at aphelion. The comet will now start its long trek to its next perihelion in 2061!

Last month, the ALPO Comets Section received 187 observations of comets C/2023 P1 (Nishimura), C/2023 V5 (Leonard), P/2023 S1, C/2023 H2 (Lemmon), C/2022 U3 (Bok), C/2022 QE78 (ATLAS), C/2022 E2 (ATLAS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 12P/Pons-Brooks, 13P/Olbers, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, 32P/Comas Sola, 62P/Tsuchinshan, 103P/Hartley, 143P/Kowal-Mrkos, 144P/Kushida, 170P/Christensen, 195P/Hill, 209P/LINEAR, 227P/Catalina-LINEAR, 246P/NEAT, 310P/Hill, 404P/Bressi, and 465P/Hill.

A big thanks to our recent contributors: Dan Bartlett, Denis Buczynski, Jose Guilherme de Souza Aguiar, Jef de Wit, Michel Deconinck, J. J. Gonzalez Suarez, Christian Harder, Carl Hergenrother, Eliot Herman, Michael Jäger, John Maikner, Martin Mobberley, Efrain Morales Rivera, Mike Olason, Uwe Pilz, Michael Rosolina, Greg Ruppel, Chris Schur, Willian Souza, Tenho Tuomi, 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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