Comet Section        


April 2, 2024 – ALPO Comet News for April 2024

Halley-type comet 12P/Pons-Brooks arrives at perihelion this month after a 70-year journey since its last return in 1954. Though 4th magnitude this month, it will be a horizon-hugger in the evening sky. Northern hemisphere observers will be able to observe the comet until mid-month, while southern hemisphere observers will be able to pick it up at about the same time northerners lose sight of it.

Pons-Brooks isn’t the only Halley-type comet in the evening sky. Inbound 13P/Olbers is returning for the first time since 1956 and will brighten to 9th magnitude this month on its way to 7th magnitude in June and July.

Other comets in the sky this month are C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS) at 9-10th magnitude in the morning sky, fading 144P/Kushida at 11-12th magnitude in the evening, and C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) at 10th magnitude near opposition. Tsuchinshan-ATLAS is steadily brightening and may become a prominent naked-eye object in October.

Last month, the ALPO Comets Section received 160 images and 148 magnitude estimates of 24 comets: C/2024 E1 (Wierzchos), C/2023 H2 (Lemmon), C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS), C/2022 W3 (Leonard), 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), P/2014 VF40 (PANSTARRS), 479P/Elenin, 473P/NEAT, 207P/NEAT, 433P/(248370) 2005 QN173, 144P/Kushida, 62P/Tsuchinshan, 44P/Reinmuth, 32P/Comas Sola, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, 13P/Olbers, 12P/Pons-Brooks, and 10P/Tempel.

A big thanks to our recent contributors: Salvador Aguirre, Anthony Amato, Michael Amato, Dan Bartlett, Michel Besson, Denis Buczynski, Dan Crowson, Michel Deconinck, Jose Guilherme de Souza Aguiar, Uwe Glahn, Juan Jose Gonzalez Suarez, Christian Harder, Carl Hergenrother, Eliot Herman, Rik Hill, Michael Jäger, Manos Kardasis, Patrick Lemaitre, John Maikner, Gianluca Masi, Erwin Matys, Frank J Melillo, Karoline Mrazek, Gary T. Nowak, Michael Olason, Ludovic Perbet, Allan Rahill, Michael Rosolina, Gregg Ruppel, Chris Schur, Greg T. Shanos, Tenho Tuomi, 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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