Welcome to my Southern Comets Website

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

This page was last updated on 17-May-2024

Newcomers should read this important Guide to Observing and Imaging Comets

In early March 2024, I presented a talk "All About Comets", discussing what they are,
as well as prospects for the bright comets in 2024.
(12P Pons-Brooks and C/2023 A3 Tsuchinshan-ATLAS)


This website is updated periodically.
Also follow my "Southern Comets Homepage" on Facebook where I post regular updates, images and observations of comets.

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2024 will be a great year for comet observing where 2 comets are expected to reach naked eye visibility in rural skies

Click on comets for observing guides and charts.

12P Pons-Brooks
This "once in a lifetime" Halley type comet (71 year orbirt) has reached 4th magnitude in April 2024
Best viewing for Southern hemisphere observers commences from 2024 April 27th.
It is currently low in the evening sky.

C/2023 A3 Tsuchinshan-ATLAS
This comet has great potential, predicted to reach 1st-3rd magnitude in October 2024
It is expected to become a bright naked eye comet.
It is currently visible in evening skies.

other comets:
13P Olbers the other "once in a lifetime comet" reaches magnitude 7 in July 2024 but is restricted to northerners from May to July.
C/2024 G3 ATLAS may reach magnitude 1 in January 2025 (but is at high risk of disintegrating)

62P Tsuchinshan reached maximum magnitude 7.5 in January 2024
144P Kushida reached maximum magnitude 9.0 in February 2024
C/2021 S3 PANSTARRS reached maximum magnitude 9 in Feb-March 2024 (fainter than predicted)

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.

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 
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

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)

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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