Director: Nick James
Apr 24 Bo Zhou reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 26 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 30 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 01 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 02 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 03 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 07 Bo Zhou reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 08 Discovery of 2016 J1 (P/PanSTARRS) announced May 08 Discovery of 2016 J2 (Denneau) announced May 13 Michal Kusiak reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 14 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 15 Worachate Boonpold reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 15 Sergey Shurpakov reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 17 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 17 Michal Kusiak reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 20 Trygve Prestgard reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 20 Szymon Liwo reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 21 Sergey Shurpakov reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images May 21 Michal Kusiak reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 22 Masanori Uchina reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C2 images May 22 Khadija El Kanbi reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images May 23 Update
If there have been no recent updates try The German comet group page
or Seiichi Yoshida's page for information or the
Liga Iberoamericana de Astronomia for observations.
Comet Magnitude Trend Observable When visible Last visual observation PanSTARRS (2013 X1) 7.5 steady 40 N to 85 S morning 2016 May 252P/LINEAR 8 fade 60 N to 70 S all night 2016 May PanSTARRS (2014 S2) 10.5 fade 60 N to 25 S all night 2016 May 81P/Wild 11 bright 55 N to 40 S evening 2016 April PanSTARRS (2015 WZ) 11 bright 55 N to 25 S all night 2016 May Catalina (2013 US10) 11.5 fade 60 N to 20 N evening 2016 April PanSTARRS (2014 W2) 12.5 steady 60 N to 10 N all night 2016 April 116P/Wild 12.5 steady 35 N to 85 S best morning 2016 April 104P/Kowal 12.5 fade Poor elongation Not yet observed 9P/Tempel 13 bright 60 N to 40 S best evening 2016 April Spacewatch (2011 KP36) 13 steady 0 N to 40 S morning 2015 September 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies 35 N to 90 S morning 2015 October Lovejoy (2014 Q2) 13 fade 60 N to 35 S best morning 2015 October 77P/Longmore 13.5 steady 35 N to 65 S best evening 2016 April 333P/LINEAR 13.5 fade Poor elongation 2016 MarchThe observable region is an approximate indication of the latitude at which the comet may be seen. Under good conditions comets may be visible outside this range. The period when visible is for the UK if the comet is visible from the UK, otherwise for 40 S or the Equator as appropriate. The last visual observation is as received by the Section, details are often updated on the basis of observations published elsewhere. Details are normally fully updated at the beginning of each month, but may be updated more frequently for comets brighter than 10th magnitude; the date of the most recent update is given. Beginners will often find comets fainter than about 7th magnitude difficult to locate - see below for information on positions and finder charts.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2016 May 3].
Longer period ephemerides are given here for planning purposes for comets that may reach naked eye brightness. All are for the UK. The ephemerides give B1950 and J2000 positions. Modern star charts use J2000, but older atlases will use B1950. The predicted magnitudes are extremely uncertain.
Planning aids and information for forthcoming comets
The MPC also has a list of the last observation for all comets. Electronic observers should try and observe any comets that have not recently been observed according to the CBAT but which are expected to be within range of their equipment. Negative observations are also useful. In addition, the MPC has orbital elements for unusual asteroids, many of which have cometary orbits.
Download the January 2015 newsletter, which has a report of an RAS meeting, an article on Rosetta, plus the usual reviews and forecasts.
Download Richard Fleet's GraphDark software for graphically displaying comet (and other object) visibility. Latest version is 2.05, 2007 May.
Download William Schwittek's CometWin software for generating comet ephemerides and visibility diagrams. [Updated 2002 March 5]
Download Solex, N-body solar system dynamics software.
Visual and visual equivalent magnitude observations should be sent to me at <jds [at] ast.com.ac.uk> in simple text format. Visual observers can use the BAA visual report form to log observations. To avoid the use of multiple formats the ICQ format is now standardised as the one to use for submission and archiving of observations, however the ICQ have not updated their observation keys since 2010. These additional keys are suggested for use when submitting observations to the BAA (updated 2015 February 1). Observations will continue to be published by Guy Hurst in The Astronomer magazine in TA format. There is also a visual drawing form. I have written a data entry program that creates a file with data in the ICQ format which you can send to me by email. It now runs under Windows and is available as a self extracting zip file. [New version, 2004 February 2]. I have also written a program to convert from ICQ to TA format.
Images should be sent to Denis Buczynski.
The German comet group also has a computer program that will correctly format observations for the ICQ [2009 December]. Crni Vhr Observatory has launched the Comet Observation Database which allows entry of observations in ICQ format, and plots of light curves. The ICQ format uses special keys to code observation particulars.
Regular contributors include James Abbott, Jose Aguiar, Alexander Amorim, Nicolas Biver, Denis Buczynski, Paul Camilleri, Matyas Csukas, Roger Dymock, John Fletcher, Marco Goiato, Juan Gonzalez, Bjorn Granslo, Kevin Hills, Nick James, Werner Hasubick, Heinz Kerner, Carlos Labordena, Rolando Ligustri, Michael Mattiazzo, Maik Mayer, Antonio Milani, Martin Mobberley, Gabriel Oksa, Mieczyslaw Paradowski, Stuart Rae, Walter Robledo, Tony Scarmato, Willian Souza, David Strange and Seiichi Yoshida, several of whom contribute observations from their colleagues.
Warning I receive a large number of emails containing viruses or other junk. Please try and make clear that your message is legitimate, otherwise it may be deleted without being read. It is advisable to use your own name, rather than an alias, in the 'from' field and use an obvious, recent subject.
Many thanks to those that regularly access this page for your interest. If you have any comments, suggestions for improvement or find any problems, please email the visual co-ordinator, Jon Shanklin, at j.shanklin @ bas.ac.uk. If you need to phone me, my home number is +44 (0)1223 571250 or my BAS number is +44 (0)1223 221482. Snail mail will reach me at the British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, CAMBRIDGE CB3 0ET, England. For information about my work with BAS see my web page at BAS.