Welcome to my Southern Comets Website

Here you will find information, finder charts and images of Comets - past, present and future,
plus other interesting astronomical observations.

This page was last updated on 24-Feb-2024

Newcomers should read this important Guide to Observing and Imaging Comets

This website is updated periodically.
You can follow my "Southern Comets Homepage" on Facebook where I post regular updates, images and observations of comets.
https://www.facebook.com/michael.mattiazzo2/

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2024 will be a great year for comet observing

2 comets are expected to reach naked eye visibility in rural skies
Click on comets for an observing guide.

12P Pons-Brooks (This "once in a lifetime" Halley type comet is predicted to reach 4th magnitude in April-May 2024)
Viewing is currently restricted to northern hemisphere observers until late April 2024.

C/2023 A3 Tsuchinshan-ATLAS (This comet has great potential, predicted to reach 1st-3rd magnitude in October 2024)

62P Tsuchinshan reached maximum magnitude 7.5 in January 2024
144P Kushida reaches maximum magnitude 9.0 in February 2024
C/2021 S3 PANSTARRS reaches maximum magnitude 9 in Feb-March 2024
13P Olbers the other "once in a lifetime comet" reaches magnitude 7 in July 2024


2024 comet observing planner, listing comets brighter than magnitude 14.
New discoveries occur throughout the year and will be updated on the list.
These are predicted magnitudes. Comets can appear significantly brighter or fainter than listed.
This is why they are so interesting to watch. The lower the number, the brighter the comet.
Typically naked eye comets are brighter than mag 6, binocular comets are mag 6-9, telescopic comets are fainter than mag 9 
Yellow indicates visibility restricted to northern hemisphere.
Blue indicates visibility restricted to southern hemisphere.
Red indicates solar conjunction. Orange indicates twilight.



Fainter comets:

New Comet discovery C/2024 C4 ATLAS.
Coma 2 wide of total UCAC4 V magnitude 14.2. Perihelion occurred on 2024 Jan 3 at 1.47AU.
It will be closest to Earth on 2024 April 12 at 0.95AU. It is not expected to brighten further.
 

Comet 207P NEAT on 2024 February 16 at 11:55UT

FOV 1 deg. North up. from Swan Hill, Victoria, Aus.
This faint periodic comet will have a close approach to Earth
on 2024 March 4-5, when it will be 0.22AU distant. Peaking at 12th magnitude.
It is situated in evening skies, traversing constellations of Eridanus, Lepus, Canis Major and Monoceros.

 


29P Schwassmann-Wachmann in outburst.
Currently 12th magnitude in Cancer

Comet C/2023 S3 Lemmon post perihelion.
Appearing 13th magnitude, comet is significantly brighter than MPC ephemeris (mag 17).
Image taken remotely on 2024 February 19 at 09:15UT using I-TEL Chile T75 ASAN250 f/3.8 + ASI6200mm. 5x60sec. FOV 30'. North left. total V mag = 13.5, coma 1'

Comet remains 13th magnitude during March-April as it approaches Earth (0.82AU on April 17)


C/2022 E2 ATLAS
Currently 13th magnitude, the comet is expected to brighten to magnitude 12 by end of the year.

Other Highly Recommended Sources of Comet Information

Gideon van Buitenen
's website http://astro.vanbuitenen.nl/comets
listing all comets that are expected to become brighter than magnitude 15 in the coming 3 months
Weekly comet information by Seiichi Yoshida http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html
providing the most accurate and up to date light curve analysis of all comets down to magnitude 18
COBS website provides up to date magnitude estimates of comets 
https://cobs.si
The Sky Live. This page provides a comprehensive list of the bright comets currently visible in the sky.
This list is updated with new information several times per day https://theskylive.com/comets

GREAT COMETS
What a privilege it is to observe a great comet. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_comet
They are one of natures finest sights in the night sky.
On average, a Great Comet is seen about once every 10 years.
I have a tally of 4, since I began observing comets in 1986.
Will C/2023 A3 Tsuchinshan-ATLAS make this list? Find out in October 2024!

Click on links for photos and information.

C/1996 B2 Hyakutake (Great comet of 1996)
C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp (Great comet of 1997)
C/2006 P1 McNaught
(Great comet of 2007)
C/2011 W3 Lovejoy (Great comet of 2011)

THE DOUBLE COMET SHOW OF MARCH 2013
Was one of my lifetime observing highlights when 2 fine comets
C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS and C/2012 F6 Lemmon
were simultaneously visible to the unaided eye, during the evenings of early March 2013


Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon at top left, comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS at lower right in twilight


A good comparison between a dusty comet vs a gassy comet.

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS page
Comet C/2012 F6 Lemmon page


Send comments to Michael Mattiazzo : mmatti at westnet dot com dot au
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