Director: Nick James
Dec 29 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Dec 31 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Jan 02 Michal Biesiada reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Jan 05 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Jan 07 Recovery of 2007 B1 (P/Christensen) as 2020 W3 reported Jan 07 Recovery of 2010 B2 (P/WISE) as 2020 Y1 reported Jan 07 Recovery of 2016 J3 (P/STEREO) not formally reported Jan 08 Discovery of 2020 Y2 (ATLAS) reported Jan 10 Discovery of 2021 A1 (Leonard) reported Jan 10 Discovery of 2021 A2 (NEOWISE) reported Jan 10 Discoery of 2020 X4 (Leonard) reported Jan 11 Recovery of 2014 E1 (P/Larson) reported (as 2020 W4) Jan 11 Worachate Boonplod reports a Meyer group comet in real time C2 images Jan 15 Discovery of 2020 W5 (Lemmon) reported Jan 15 Discovery of 2020 Y3 (ATLAS) reported Jan 15 Discovery of 2021 A4 (NEOWISE) reported Jan 15 Discovery of 2021 A5 (P/PanSTARRS) reported Jan 15 Discovery of 2021 A6 (PanSTARSS) reported Jan 15 Discovery of 2021 A7 (NEOWISE) reported Jan 16 Recovery of 2013 EW90 (P/Tenagra) as 2020 Y4 reported Jan 16 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Jan 17 Recovery of 2013 A2 (P/Scotti) as 2021 A8 reported Jan 17 Worachate Boonplod reports a non-group comet in real time C3 images Jan 21 Robert Pickard reports a Meyer group comet in delayed C2 images Jan 21 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Jan 21 Worachate Boonplod reports a non-group comet in real time C2 images Jan 22 Peter Berrett reports a Meyer group comet in archival C2 images Jan 22 Recovery of 2015 J3 (P/NEOWISE) as 2021 B1 reported Jan 23 Discovery of 2021 A9 (PanSTARRS) reported Jan 23 Discovery of 2021 B2 (PanSTARRS) reported Jan 23 Update
If there have been no recent updates try The German comet group page or Seiichi Yoshida's page for information or the Liga Iberoamericana de Astronomia for observations.
Comet Magnitude Trend Observable When visible Last visual observation 2020 S3 (Erasmus) 9 fade Conjunction 2020 December P/STEREO (2021 A3) 10 bright 35 N to 10 S early evening 2021 January 141P/Machholz 10.5 fade 55 N to 35 S early evening 2021 January 2020 R4 (ATLAS) 10.5 bright Poor elongation 2021 January 2020 M3 (ATLAS) 11 fade 90 N to 20 S all night 2021 January 88P/Howell 11 fade 35 N to 20 S early evening 2021 January 2021 A2 (NEOWISE) 11 bright 10 N to 55 S all night 2021 January 156P/Russell-LINEAR 11.5 fade 90 N to 30 S best evening 2021 January 2019 N1 (ATLAS) 12 steady 20 N to 50 S morning 2021 January 398P/Boatttini 12 steady 65 N to 50 S best evening 2021 January 11P/Tempel-Swift-LINEAR 12 fade 65 N to 45 S evening 2020 December 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies 85 N to 35 S best evening 2021 January 2017 T2 (PanSTARRS) 13 fade Poor elongation 2020 September 162P/Siding Spring 13 fade 70 N to 25 S evening 2020 December 58P/Jackson-Neujmin 14 ? fade 65 N to 50 S best midnight 2020 August 2019 L3 (ATLAS) 14 bright 90 N to 0 N best evening 2020 December 2020 N1 (PanSTARRS) 14 bright 90 N to 15 S evening 2020 December 2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 15 bright 90 N to 35 N morning 2020 SeptemberDetails are usually updated at the beginning of each month, but may be updated more frequently for brighter comets. The last update was on January 5. The observable region is an approximate indication of the latitude at which the comet may be seen. Under good conditions comets may be visible outside this range. The period when visible is for the UK if the comet is visible from the UK, otherwise for 40 S or the Equator as appropriate. The last visual observation is as received by the Section, details are often updated on the basis of observations published elsewhere. Beginners will often find comets fainter than about 7th magnitude difficult to locate - see below for information on positions and finder charts.
Light curves of comets that may become brighter than 10th magnitude (aperture corrected for potential naked eye comets) [click on thumbnail to get the full scale image, updated on 2020 December 2]. The dotted lines represent 99% confidence limits. None at present.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2021 January 5].
Planning aids and information for forthcoming comets, valid out to about 2025.
The MPC also has a list of the last observation for all comets. Electronic observers should try and observe any comets that have not recently been observed according to the CBAT but which are expected to be within range of their equipment. Negative observations are also useful. In addition, the MPC has orbital elements for unusual asteroids, many of which have cometary orbits.
Download Richard Fleet's GraphDark software for graphically displaying comet (and other object) visibility. Latest version is 2.05, 2007 May.
Download William Schwittek's CometWin software for generating comet ephemerides and visibility diagrams. [Updated 2002 March 5]
Download Solex, N-body solar system dynamics software.
Visual and visual equivalent magnitude observations should be sent to me at <jds [at] ast.com.ac.uk> in simple text format. Visual observers can use the BAA visual report form to log observations. To avoid the use of multiple formats the ICQ format , which uses special keys to code observation particulars, is now standardised as the one to use for submission and archiving of observations. The ICQ have not updated their observation keys since 2010, so these additional keys are suggested for use when submitting observations to the BAA (updated 2020 October 3). Crni Vhr Observatory has launched the Comet Observation Database which allows entry of observations in ICQ format, and plots of light curves. Visual observations entered using this system should be emailed to me at the end of the month. Observations are usually analysed and sent to TA as soon as possible after the end of the month with a TA deadline of the 2nd; any late observations will be used in subsequent analyses. Observations will continue to be published by Guy Hurst in The Astronomer magazine in TA format. There is also a visual drawing form. The German comet group also has a computer program that will correctly format observations for the ICQ [2009 December].
Images should be sent to Denis Buczynski.
Regular contributors include James Abbott, Jose Aguiar, Alexander Amorim, Nicolas Biver, Denis Buczynski, Paul Camilleri, Peter Carson, Matyas Csukas, Roger Dymock, John Fletcher, Marco Goiato, Juan Gonzalez, Bjorn Granslo, Werner Hasubick, Kevin Hills, Nick James, Heinz Kerner, Carlos Labordena, Rolando Ligustri, Michael Mattiazzo, Maik Mayer, Antonio Milani, Martin Mobberley, Jose Navarro Pina, Gabriel Oksa, Mieczyslaw Paradowski, Nirmal Paul, Stuart Rae, Walter Robledo, Tony Scarmato, Willian Souza, David Strange Johan Warrell and Seiichi Yoshida, several of whom contribute observations from their colleagues. Thanks are due to all of them.
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Many thanks to those that regularly access this page for your interest. If you have any comments, suggestions for improvement or find any problems, please email the visual co-ordinator, Jon Shanklin, at j.shanklin @ bas.ac.uk. If you need to phone me, my home number is +44 (0)1223 571250 or my BAS number is +44 (0)1223 221482. Snail mail will reach me at the British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, CAMBRIDGE CB3 0ET, England. For information about my work with BAS see my web page at BAS.