Director: Nick James
Mar 27 Szymon Liwo reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Mar 29 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 02 Discovery of 2017 D5 (PanSTARRS) reported Apr 02 Discovery of 2017 E5 (Lemmon) reported Apr 02 Discovery of 2017 F1 (Lemmon) reported Apr 02 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 04 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 04 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 06 Discovery of 2017 F2 (PanSTARRS) reported Apr 06 Discovery of 2017 G1 (P/PanSTARRS) reported Apr 07 Worachate Boonplod reports four Kreutz group comets in real time images Apr 10 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 11 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 13 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 14 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 15 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 16 Trygve Prestgard and Masanori Uchina report a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 16 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 19 Worachate Boonplod reports three Kreutz group comets in real time C3 images Apr 19 Worachate Boonplod reports a Meyer group comet in real time C2 images Apr 21 Discovery of 2017 G2 (P/PanSTARRS) reported Apr 21 Discovery of 2017 G3 (PanSTARRS) reported Apr 21 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 22 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 22 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 24 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 25 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Apr 25 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Apr 26 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 (2015 ER61) 7 bright 45 N to 80 S morning 2017 April 41P/Tuttle-Giacobinni-Kresak 7.5 fade 70 N to 15 S all night 2017 April Johnson (2015 V2) 9 bright 70 N to 30 S all night 2017 April Borisov (2017 E1) 9.5 steady 30 N to 60 S early morning 2017 April Lovejoy (2017 E4) 9.5 fade 65 N to 35 S morning 2017 April 2P/Encke 10 fade 10 N to 80 S morning 2017 March PanSTARRS (2016 VZ18) 11 fade 70 N to 10 N all night 2017 March 65P/Gunn 12 bright 30 N to 70 S best morning Not yet observed 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 12 fade 20 S to 45 S early morning 2017 March 71P/Clark 13 bright 45 N to 75 S best morning Not yet observed PanSTARRS (2016 R2) 13 ? bright Poor elongation Not yet observed 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies 20 N to 70 S morning 2016 November 315P/LONEOS 14 fade 70 N to 20 S best evening 2017 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 partial 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.
Light curves of comets brighter than 10th magnitude or predicted to become that bright (aperture corrected for potential naked eye comets) [click on thumbnail to get the full scale image, updated on April 4]. The dotted lines represent 99% confidence limits. 41P/, 2015 ER61, 2015 V2, 2017 E1, 2017 E4.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2017 April 4].
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. It is currently unlikely that either comet will be bright.
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 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 , which uses special keys to code observation particulars, is now standardised as the one to use for submission and archiving of observations. The ICQ have not updated their observation keys since 2010, so these additional keys are suggested for use when submitting observations to the BAA (updated 2017 January 4). Crni Vhr Observatory has launched the Comet Observation Database which allows entry of observations in ICQ format, and plots of light curves. Visual observations entered using this system should be emailed to me at the end of the month. Observations are usually analysed and sent to TA as soon as possible after the end of the month; any late observations will be used in subsequent analyses. Observations will continue to be published by Guy Hurst in The Astronomer magazine in TA format. There is also a visual drawing form. The German comet group also has a computer program that will correctly format observations for the ICQ [2009 December].
Images should be sent to Denis Buczynski.
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, Jose Navarro Pina, 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.
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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.