Comet Section        


February 1, 2024 – ALPO Comet News for February 2024

The comet of the month continues to be 12P/Pons-Brooks. Returning for the first time since 1954, Pons-Brooks has been delighting observers with a constant series of outbursts. While the object is currently only visible to northern observers, those who can see it will be able to watch it brighten from around magnitude 7.7 to 6.4 in the evening sky. Joining Pons-Brooks in the evening sky is another Halley-type comet, 13P/Olbers, making its first return since 1956. Olbers is also brightening but still faint at 11-12th magnitude this month. Closing out the evening comets is short-period 144P/Kushida, which was predicted to reach 8th magnitude but appears to have peaked at 10th magnitude.

In the morning sky are two comets, which should be at 9th magnitude, 62P/Tsuchinshan and C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS). Also, in the morning is C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), which could become a bright object later in the year and is now within visual range of large aperture telescopes at 12th magnitude.

Last month, the ALPO Comets Section received 146 images and 102 magnitude estimates of 30 comets: P/2023 S1, C/2023 H5 (Lemmon), C/2023 H2 (Lemmon), C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), C/2022 QE78 (ATLAS), C/2022 L2 (ATLAS), C/2022 E2 (ATLAS), C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS), C/2021 G2 (ATLAS), C/2020 V2 (ZTF), C/2020 K1 (PANSTARRS), C/2019 U5 (PANSTARRS), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 227P/Catalina-LINEAR, 226P/Pigott-LINEAR-Kowalski, 216P/LINEAR, 207P/NEAT, 194P/LINEAR, 176P/LINEAR, 170P/Christensen, 150P/LONEOS, 144P/Kushida, 126P/IRAS, 105P/Singer Brewster, 103P/Hartley, 62P/Tsuchinshan, 39P/Oterma, 32P/Comas Sola, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, 13P/Olbers, and 12P/Pons-Brooks.

A big thanks to our recent contributors: Denis Buczynski, Dan Crowson, Michel Deconinck, Jose Guilherme de Souza Aguiar, Juan Jose Gonzalez Suarez, Eliot Herman, Michael Jäger, Christian Harder, Manos Kardasis, John Maikner, Gianluca Masi, Erwin Matys, Martin Mobberley, Karoline Mrazek, Mike Olason, Uwe Pilz, Greg Ruppel, Chris Schur, Gregory T. Shanos, Willian Souza, and Christopher 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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