Comet Section        


January 3, 2021 – ALPO Comet News for January 2021

While many of us are happy to see the end of 2020, it was actually quite a good year for comet observing. No less than 13 comets were observed at magnitude 10.0 or brighter. The comet highlight of the year was C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) which was the most impressive comet for northern hemisphere observers since C/1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) in 1997.

Though it is unlikely 2021 will deliver another NEOWISE-type event, the year is predicted to see a large number of reasonably bright short-period comets, though most won’t be bright till the 2nd half of the year. As a result, 2021 will start off slow with no comets expected to be brighter than 10th magnitude in January. We may need to wait till February or March when long-period comet C/2020 R4 (ATLAS) could become bright enough for small aperture observers.

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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