Comet Section        


April 3, 2021 – ALPO Comet News for April 2021

As announced in the Spring 2021 issue of the Journal of the ALPO, Michel Deconinck has graciously accepted to serve as Acting Assistant Coordinator of the ALPO Comets Section. Michel is an avid observers and master sketcher of not just comets but many astronomical phenomena. Two of his sketches are included in the PDF version of this month’s Report. Please join me in welcoming Michel to the ALPO team!

Two comets, C/2020 R4 (ATLAS) and C/2021 D1 (SWAN) reached 9th magnitude in March. While SWAN should now be fainter than magnitude 10.0 and fading, C/2020 R4 (ATLAS) will continue to brighten to about magnitude 8.5 as it passes 0.46 au from Earth on April 23. A number of fainter comets are also visible for large aperture visual observers including 7P/Pons-Winnecke which is brightening to a 11th magnitude maximum in June/July. This marks 7P’s 25th observed return and is part of a run of low numbered periodic comets returning in 2021.

The monthly ALPO Comet News PDF can be found here. A shorter version of this report is posted on a dedicated Cloudy Nights forum. All are encouraged to join the discussion over at Cloudy Nights.

- Carl Hergenrother

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