Comet Section        


December 31, 2023 – ALPO Comet News for January 2024

Happy New Year! The start of 2024 sees the action dominated by returning comets. The brightest comet of the month should be the Halley-family comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, which is returning for the first time since 1954 and will brighten to 7th magnitude by the end of January. 12P has experienced a number of major outbursts, which recently seem to be occurring at a two-week cadence. Sharing the evening sky with 12P is short-period comet 144P/Kushida brightening to 8th magnitude. Also around 8th magnitude, but in the morning sky, is short-period comet 62P/Tsuchinshan. The only relatively bright long-period comet is C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), which may reach 9th magnitude and is in the morning sky before dawn.

Last month, the ALPO Comets Section received 131 images and 105 magnitude estimates of 33 comets: C/2023 X2 (Lemmon), C/2023 X1 (Leonard), C/2023 T3 (Fuls), C/2023 S3 (Lemmon), C/2023 P1 (Nishimura), C/2023 H2 (Lemmon), C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), C/2022 QE78 (ATLAS), C/2022 JK5 (PANSTARRS), C/2022 E2 (ATLAS), C/2021 X1 (Maury-Attard), C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), C/2021 G2 (ATLAS), C/2021 A9 (PANSTARRS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 471P, 470P/PANSTARRS, 378P/McNaught, 226P/Pigott-LINEAR-Kowalski, 207P/NEAT, 170P/Christensen, 144P/Kushida, 126P/IRAS, 103P/Hartley, 62P/Tsuchinshan, 32P/Comas Sola, 30P/Reinmuth, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, 13P/Olbers, and 12P/Pons-Brooks.

A big thanks to our recent contributors: Dan Bartlett, Todd Bossaller, Denis Buczynski, Dan Crowson, Michel Deconinck, J. J. Gonzalez Suarez, Christian Harder, Carl Hergenrother, Eliot Herman, Michael Jäger, Manos Kardasis, Martin Mobberley, Mike Olason, Uwe Pilz, Greg Ruppel, Chris Schur, Gregory T. Shanos, 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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