C/2020 F8 SWAN
Closest to Earth on 2020 May 13 at 0.55AU
Closest to Sun on 2020 May 27 at 0.43AU
Maximum brightness 5th magnitude in esrly May 2020 prior to disintegrating at perihelion.
Orbital period  - dynamically new

The best period of visibility occurred on the morning of May 2, when the comet peaked at faint naked eye magnitude of 5.0
and sported an ion tail on photographs >10 degrees long.
After this date, the comet started to decline in brightness, before disintegrating at perihelion.

Click HERE for details on how I discovered this comet.


My final observation of C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 May 10 at 19:45UT. Comet was at 10 degrees altitude.
Visual magnitude was 5.8, dia 6' dc6 through 15x70mm binoculars. In 25x100mm B, there was a hint of a dust tail 20' in PA235.
 


A10 minute stack on comet C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 May 7 at 19:45UT.
Note a hint of dust tail development to the south (up) of the ion tail.
Also note the unusual shape of the head, which appears flat. This feature is seen in comets that disintegrate.
Visual estimate was 5.4, dia 8', dc6. using 8x40mm binoculars. Altitude 20 degrees. Full moonlight interference.
Below widefield image is using 6D camera and sigma lens at 150mm. 4 deg tail.


C/2020 F8 SWAN on 2020 May 4 at 19:30UT.
Visual magnitude was 5.6, dia=9' dc=6. Ion tail >2 degrees visually using 8x40mm binoculars.
Ion tail appears >7 degrees long as shown in the wide field image.
Comet has shown a slight decline in brightness, after a surge from April 26. Light curve is erratic  - high risk of disintegrating.


C/2020 F8 SWAN showing an impressive ion tail >8 degrees long in this wide field photo taken on May 2.


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 May 2 at 19:25UT. The best period of visibility.
Visual magnitude 5.0, dia=10' dc=6. 8x40mm B. Comet was also faintly observable with the unaided eye.
Ion tail >2 degrees visually through 25x100mm binoculars.
Note the delicate streamers of ionised gas as they are stripped away by the solar wind, much like a windsock.


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 April 29 at 19:30UT.
The ion tail in this photo is >5 degrees. ET Aqr is to left of comet
Visual magnitude =5.4, coma 7' dc 6 using 8x40mm B. in 25x100mm Binoculars, the ion tail was > 2 degrees.
A pseudo nucleus was visible at approximate mag 9. Comet was visible to the unaided eye using averted vision.


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 April 27 at 19:25UT
Visual magnitude was 6.2. Note the flattened head, an indication the comet is small and very elongated.


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 April 26 at 19:15UT.
Visual magnitude = 6.3, dia=6' DC=6. 7x50mm binoculars
comet appeared significantly brighter than 48hrs ago, suggesting an outburst.
tail appears 1 degree long in PA230 in this image


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on  2020 April 24 at 19:15UT
Visual observation  m1=7.2, dia=6', dc=5 using 15x70mm Binoculars


C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on  2020 April 21 at 19:05UT
Visual observation  m1=7.5, dia=5', dc=5 using 15x70mm Binoculars


C/2020 F8 SWAN on 2020 April 16 at 18:50UT
visual observation m1=8.0 using 15x70mm binoculars


C/2020 F8 SWAN on 2020 April 13.
Visual observation April 13.79UT: m1=8.1, Dia=4',DC=4, 15x70mm binoculars
[coma appears less condensed and may have faded slightly since previous observation 48 hrs ago]
Image digitally processed in Maxim DL to display coma detail.
 


C/2020 F8 SWAN observation on 2020 April 11.79UT: m1=7.8, Dia=4',DC=5, 15x70mm binoculars
In a 20cm reflector, coma is strongly enhanced when using a SWAN band filter.


One of the earliest images of New comet C/2020 F8 SWAN taken on 2020 Apr 10 at 18:50UT.
using a C11 RASA f/2.2 + Canon 60Da. 2 mins. FOV 30'. North below.
Comet shows a strongly condensed green coma 5 wide and is possibly in outburst.
Ion tail appears 8 long in PA223.

 


April and May Finder charts
for Australian observers at 5am local time.
The comet brightened from magnitude 8 to 5 during April, and was best observed in early May 2020, before starting to disintegrate.

My visual observations of the comet: