Director: Nick James
Feb 24 Discovery of 2018 S3 (TESS) finally confirmed Feb 28 Discovery of 2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) reported Mar 06 Zesheng Yang reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 06 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 12 Discovery of 2023 E1 (ATLAS) reported Mar 14 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 14 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 16 Designation change of 1951 G1 (Groeneveld) reported Mar 18 Jiangao Ruan reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C2 images Mar 19 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Mar 21 Hanjie Tan reports a Meyer group comet in real time C3 images Mar 21 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 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 2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) 9 fade 10 N to 70 S evening 2023 February 2022 A2 (PanSTARRS) 10 fade 75 N to 30 N evening + morning 2023 March 2022 E3 (ZTF) 10 fade 60 N to 65 S evening 2023 March 2020 V2 (ZTF) 10.5 fade 75 N to 0 S evening 2023 March 2019 U5 (PanSTARRS) 11.5 bright 65 N to 65 S best morning 2023 March 2019 L3 (ATLAS) 11.5 fade 30 N to 65 S all night 2023 February 2020 K1 (PanSTARRS) 12.5 bright 0 N to 65 S morning 2022 October 237P/LINEAR 13 bright 35 N to 65 S morning Not yet observed 2019 T4 (ATLAS) 13 steady 65 N to 50 S morning 2023 February 81P/Wild 13 fade 50 N to 65 S early morning 2023 February 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies 80 N to 30 S best evening 2023 January 2022 U2 (ATLAS) 13.5 fade 75 N to 45 S evening 2023 February 96P/Machholz 13.5 fade Poor elongation 2023 February 118P/Shoemaker-Levy 14 fade 80 N to 45 S best evening 2023 February 2021 Y1 (ATLAS) 14 fade 35 N to 55 S evening 2023 FebruaryDetails are usually fully updated at the beginning of each month, but some minor updates may be made more frequently, particularly for brighter comets. The last (partial) update was on March 16. The magnitude is a rough value for the mean magnitude reported; some observers will see the comet brighter than this, whilst others will see it fainter. 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 8th magnitude (aperture corrected for potential naked eye comets) [click on thumbnail to get the full scale image, updated on 2023 January 3]. The dotted lines represent 99% confidence limits. 2017 K2, 2020 V2, 2022 A2, 2022 E3.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2023 March 1].
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.cam.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, Giuseppe Pappa, Jose Navarro Pina, Gabriel Oksa, Mieczyslaw Paradowski, Nirmal Paul, Stuart Rae, Walter Robledo, Tony Scarmato, Willian Souza, David Strange, Johan Warrell, Chris Wyatt and Seiichi Yoshida, several of whom contribute observations from their colleagues. Thanks are due to all of them.
Warning I receive a large number of emails containing viruses or other junk. Please try and make clear that your message is legitimate, otherwise it may be deleted without being read. It is advisable to use your own name, rather than an alias, in the 'from' field and use an obvious, recent subject.
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. There is a small piece of Antarctica named as Shanklin Glacier. See also this BBC report. Exploration of icy parts of the world clearly runs in the blood as my great-grandfather kept diaries which record the passage of a comet below the Plough, the discovery of a comet by his brother, Bernard Thomas, from Tasmania and the expeditions to Antarctica by Scott and Shackleton. A write up of my George Alcock lecture, which tells a little of the Antarctic story was published in the 2021 October BAA Journal.