Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

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nigeljoslin
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Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

I spotted this comet easily with the 14” Dob. Quite small, as they all seem to be of late. I have already seen Iwamoto, which I described as having a unform, perfectly circular coma. This comet was similar in appearance, with no visible tail but a coma which was quite bright for about 3 minutes of arc and then seemed to fade into invisibility beyond that for maybe 6 minutes of arc at pretty much a linear rate.

Unlike with Iwamoto, the central condensation was a struggle to discern. Lower magnifications (66x,110x) showed just a brightened fuzz. It wasn’t until I increased the magnification to 200x that I was able to spot a bright dot in the centre of the fuzz, and even then, it kept blinking on and off. An increase to 330x, the maximum possible magnification without the coma fading away, revealed a steady, compact dot.

It was nice observing this on a night when two more comets were up there too, C/2020 A2 Iwamoto and C/2017 T2 Panstarrs. The later has now brightened (a claimed mag. 8.5), easy in the Dob, but I was unable to see it in the 8x50 finderscope, probably because it was too small!

Happy observing,

Nigel
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars

brian livesey
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by brian livesey »

Here's more on Atlas: www.spaceweather.com .
brian

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Interesting. Let's keep our fingers crossed for major brightening. Thanks, Brian
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nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Observed this again, last night. I could see the central condensation more clearly, this time, a very, very tight stellar centre.

This is another comet that is moving across our sky at great speed, now approaching Camelopardalis. I have just read that it is currently a mere 163,185,853 kilometers from us. They can tell with that much accuracy? :shock:
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brian livesey
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by brian livesey »

The comet's brightening and moving so fast that it might disintegrate before long.
brian

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Let's hope not. We are looking at the back end of May for brightening, aren't we? Assuming it survives the rigours of the solar approach.

I wonder....would it ever be unaided eye, though? Given that it is small.
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RMSteele
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by RMSteele »

Nigel, I tried for the comet tonight (22nd March) at 2225 UT with an 80mm f5 refractor x36. Lots of light pollution, so not ideal. I noted a very faint blue, tiny, almost stellar but slightly fuzzy object very close indeed to rho UMa. If that was indeed the comet it cannot have been brighter than about Vmag 8.5. Did you manage to get a look this evening?
Kind regards Bob

michael feist
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by michael feist »

A very clear night 22-23 [Sun-Mon] MARCH MMXX, so attempted to locate this comet with my rather too small instruments. Firstly, in the early evening when it was almost overhead and a bit awkward and then in the early morning, when in the SW and with even better conditions. Used L/S 60 at x12 upwards and then Acuter 65A with x15 eyepiece and then with zoom throughout the range. Locating the star field was easy with even stars down to limit of my star maps but nailing the Comet was really not possible. regards maf

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Hello Bob, no I didn't get to see it because it has gone behind the shed! :lol: I shall have to get out with my 4 inch refractor if I'm to see it again.

Hello Mike, maybe you didn't see it because it is so small. I don't really understand how comet magnitudes are determined, what with the magnitude gradients in comas and tails, but what I do know is that I cannot see down in quoted magnitude as far with a comet as I can with a star.

Happy observing,

Nigel
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Sorry, Bob! Getting confused with my comets! I was thinking of Comet Panstarrs near Cassiopeia, for some reason! :roll: My shed isn't that tall!

It's still a `no' answer to your question. I last saw Y4 Atlas on Saturday night. It clouded up here on the evening of Sunday 22nd.
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Robin Scagell
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by Robin Scagell »

I looked for the comet with my 300 mm Dob last night (24 March) from near High Wycombe where the skies are not brilliant but not as bad as in a town. I was surprised that I couldn't spot it using the standard 32 mm eyepiece (2 inch barrel) even though I was looking at just the right spot. Then I followed the advice that I always give, and increased the magnification by using a standard 1¼-inch 26 mm eyepiece and it jumped out straight away. Wouldn't have thought that such a fairly minor change would make that much difference!

I looked the other night using my 200 mm LX90 SCT using the same 26 mm eyepiece and saw it fairly easily.

My photos, one of which is on the SPA news story (https://www.popastro.com/main_spa1/wp-c ... 55-62s.jpg), show that it is developing a tail although I didn't see this visually. I am now using the SCT and a Sony A7S camera for ease of setup rather than my mono CCD.

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Hiya folks,

Nice picture, Robin. I had another look at it last night under a sky that was good but not at its best (Coma Berenices was only just visible) due to a slight haziness, and like you, I failed to spot any evidence of a tail. Just the perfectly circular coma.

I upped the magnification into the two-hundreds, and then 330x to look for any sign of fragmentation, but the core still looked very tight and stellar.

Heavens Above now claims a magnitude of 8.0, but I felt that it was still a little dimmer than this. I did comparisons with nearby M 81 (mag. 6.9) and NGC 3077 (mag. 10.6), and M 81 was considerably brighter.
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jeff.stevens
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by jeff.stevens »

I had an attempt at C/2019 Y4 ATLAS this evening, from the light polluted skies of Stoke-on-Trent. I was using an 8” reflector, but I could not detect it. I was using a 26mm eyepiece, and didn’t think to check with a higher magnification, until I just came in doors and read Robin’s comment on this thread. Most frustrated. I really don’t like to be defeated, but, for this evening at least, defeat I must accept.

I’ll keep trying. I don’t often use the large reflector these days, so it could be lack of experience with that, but I was confident of my field of view. Nonetheless, it has been a beautiful evening. In the midst of these worrying and sad times I am so glad I have my love of observing to fall back on. The night sky is like an old friend, unmoved by earthly events. I may not have seen the comet, but I had fun trying, and I have spent time with my old friend once more. How lucky and blessed I am.

I did my one bit of exercise this evening too, cycling a five mile loop from the edge of the city, through some country lanes and back again. The view of sunset was superb. I stopped to look at the most beautiful purple glow on the tree lined horizon, and a slender crescent Moon to top off the view.

Here’s to Y4 brightening, putting it in reach of my limited abilities. Lovely to read your sightings of this, by the way. Keep on observing.

Best wishes, Jeff.

RMSteele
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by RMSteele »

2020 March 27, 2030 UT. Comet 2019 Y4 Atlas. 80mm f5 achromatic refractor x36. New Farnley, Leeds. Sky transparent and less affected by artificial illumination than usual. The comet is more easily seen than it was on the 22nd (see my earlier post). The coma is moderately condensed with a stellar core, slight bluish tint. I estimate the integrated visual magnitude at about mag 8.0. No tail visible.
Kind regards, Bob

nigeljoslin
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Re: Comet 2019 Y4 ATLAS

Post by nigeljoslin »

Yes, keep trying, Jeff. These comets are small. Easy to miss.

Which method did you use to estimate the comet magnitude, Bob? (see: https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/c ... rightness/)

I use the `in-focus' method. Maybe I need to try something else. I must say, I like the sound of the Morris Method.

Best wishes,

Nigel
Skywatcher 350P f4.65, Skywatcher StarTravel 102 f5, Adler Optik 9x63 binoculars

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