Comet Section        


November 7, 2021 – ALPO Comet News for November 2021


After an exciting 2020 for comets, 2021 seemed to be a bit of a letdown. Well, it may have taken most of the year to get going, but 2021 is finally picking up steam. We now have three comets brighter than magnitude 10. C/2021 A1 (Leonard) may brighten to the verge of naked eye visibility (for those under very dark skies) by the end of the month. It should get even brighter next month when it could reach 4th magnitude or perhaps even brighter. C/2019 L3 (PANSTARRS) and 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be around magnitude 9 this month.

If you’ve never observed 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann before, this is a great time to start. The Centaur comet has experienced a succession of outbursts since late September. As a result, it is brighter than it’s been in years with visual observers placing it between magnitude 10 and 11.

Two recently discovered comets have the potential to be nice small telescope objects when they arrive at perihelion over the next few years. C/2021 S3 (PANSTARRS) may reach 8th magnitude in 2024 while C/2021 T4 (Lemmon) could be a 9th magnitude object in 2023.

Comets Section News

From October 1 through the first week of November, the ALPO Comets Section received 125 visual and CCD magnitude measurements and 80 images and/or sketches from Dan Bartlett, Michel Besson, Denis Buczynski, Dan Crowson, Michel Deconinck, J. J. Gonzalez, Christian Harder, Carl Hergenrother, Eliot Herman, Gianluca Masi, Martin Mobberley, Mike Olason, Ludovic Prebet, Efrain Morales Rivera, Chris Schur, Tenho Tuomi, Dennis Wilde, and Chris Wyatt of the following comets: C/2021 K1 (ATLAS), C/2021 A1 (Leonard), C/2020 T2 (Palomar), C/2020 F5 (MASTER), C/2019 T4 (ATLAS), C/2019 LD2 (ATLAS), C/2019 L3 (ATLAS), C/2019 F1 (ATLAS-Africano), C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS), 433P/(248370) 2005 QN173 ,429P/LINEAR-Hill, 424P/La Sagra, 284P/McNaught, 246P/NEAT, 230P/LINEAR, 179P/Jedicke, 132P/Helin-Roman-Alu, 119P/Parker-Hartley, 113P/Spitaler, 104P/Kowal, 97P/Metcalf-Brewington, 94P/Russell, 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko, 57P/du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, 19P/Borrelly, 8P/Tuttle, 7P/Pons-Winnecke, 6P/d’Arrest, and 4P/Faye.

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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