Director: Nick James
Jan 21 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Jan 25 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in STEREO images Jan 26 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Jan 26 Trygve Prestgard and Khadija El Kanbi report a Kreutz group comet in STEREO images Jan 27 Discovery of 2017 B1 (Lemmon) reported Jan 27 Cometary activity reported in 2016 VZ18 (PanSTARRS) Jan 29 Recovery of 2010 J5 (P/McNaught) as 2017 B2 reported Jan 29 Trygve Prestgard reports a Kreutz comet in STEREO images Jan 31 Peiyuan Sun reports a non-group (Marsden group) comet in real time C3 images Feb 01 Peiyuan Sun reports a Kreutz comet in STEREO images Feb 03 Zhijian Xu and Sergey Shurpakov report a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Feb 04 Discovery of 2017 B3 (LINEAR) reported Feb 04 Discovery of 2017 B4 (P/PanSTARRS) reported Feb 04 Worachate Boonplod reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C3 images Feb 07 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Feb 07 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in STEREO images Feb 08 Zhijian Xu reports two Kreutz group comets in STEREO images Feb 12 Outburst of 73P component reported Feb 12 Discovery of 2017 C1 (NEOWISE) reported Feb 12 Worachate Boonplod reports a Meyer group comet in real time C2 images Feb 19 Discovery of 2017 C1 (PanSTARRS) reported Feb 19 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 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova 7.5 fade 90 N to 45 S best morning 2017 February PanSTARRS (2015 ER61) 10 bright 50 N to 60 S early morning 2017 February 2P/Encke 10 bright 75 N to 10 S evening 2017 February Johnson (2015 V2) 10.5 bright 90 N to 25 S best morning 2017 February NEOWISE (2016 U1) 11 fade Poor elongation 2017 January 41P/Tuttle-Giacobinni-Kresak 12 bright 75 N to 50 S best morning 2017 February 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 12.5 bright 30 N to 40 S early morning 2017 January PanSTARRS (2016 R2) 13 ? bright 25 N to 55 S evening Not yet observed 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies In conjunction 2016 November 315P/LONEOS 13.5 steady 70 N to 10 S morning 2017 January 237P/LINEAR 13.5 fade In conjunction 2016 November Spacewatch (2011 KP36) 13.5 fade 40 N to 20 S early evening 2016 November 43P/Wolf-Harrington 14 fade 25 N to 60 S morning 2017 JanuaryThe 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 February 2]. The dotted lines represent 99% confidence limits. 45P/, 2015 ER61, 2015 V2.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2017 February 2].
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.
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.