Dec 19 Discovery of 2014 Y1 (PanSTARRS) reported Dec 22 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Dec 23 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 24 Recovery of 2004 VR8 (P/LONEOS) as 2013 V6 reported Dec 25 Merry Christmas Dec 25 Zhijian Xu reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 30 Discovery of 2014 XB8 (PanSTARRS) reported Dec 31 Worachate Boonplod reports a Meyer group comet in real time C2 images Jan 01 Happy New Year Jan 04 Sergei Schmalz reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Jan 13 The January 2015 edition of The Comet's Tale is published Jan 15 Discovery of 2015 A1 (PanSTARRS) reported Jan 16 Discovery of 2015 A2 (PanSTARRS) reported Jan 17 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 Lovejoy (2014 Q2) 4 fade 90 N to 50 S best evening 2015 January 15P/Finlay 7 outburst 70 N to 30 S evening 2015 January PanSTARRS (2012 K1) 11 fade 35 N to 50 S evening 2014 December Borisov (2014 R1) 12 fade 50 N to 40 S early morning 2014 November Siding Spring (2013 A1) 12 steady 60 N to 25 N early morning 2014 November Catalina (2013 US10) 12.5 bright Poor elongation 2014 November Oukaimeden (2013 V5) 12.5 fade 60 N to 25 S morning 2014 October 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies Poor elongation 2014 October PanSTARRS (2012 F3) 13.5 ? steady Poor elongation 2014 May 32P/Comas Sola 13.5 steady 70 N to 35 S morning 2014 November Borisov (2014 Q3) 13.5 fade 90 N to 40 N evening & early am 2014 November PanSTARRS (2014 Q1) 15 ? bright Poor elongation Not yet observedThe 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 updated at the beginning and middle of each month, but may be updated more frequently for bright comets. Beginners will often find comets fainter than about 7th magnitude difficult to locate - see below for information on positions and finder charts.
Note that in general only details of currently visible comets are updated and that analyses of past years will be published in the BAA Journal.
Planning aids and information for forthcoming comets
An explanation of the information in the ephemerides is given here. The following magnitude parameters, last updated 2015 January 17, are used in the ephemerides, but note that ephemerides are not updated every time the magnitude parameters are.
The following lists [updated 2015 January 4] give the ephemeris details, including the approximate current magnitude and local visibility for all the comets in the CBAT list for the UK, the equator and 40 south. CCD 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.
For positions of newly discovered comets see the NEO confirmation page . You can also generate your own ephemerides and elements at the CBAT Minor Planet and Comet Ephemeris Service web page. Seiichi Yoshida has pages for currently visible comets, which include finder charts. Seiichi also has a comet rendezvous page, which lists conjunctions between comets, variable stars and nebulae and a comet recovery page, which lists periodic comets not yet recovered at the present return. The T3 project aims to discover comets amongst the population of asteroids influenced by Jupiter. Following a hack at the MPC, MPECs etc are now available at this site
A plot of recent search areas by professional teams looking for NEOS.
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.
Images should be sent to Denis Buczynski at <cometobs [at] britastro.org> or to his personal email at <buczynski8166 [at] btinternet.com>. We would be particularly pleased to receive drawings, as well as CCD images and photographs. If you are submitting images, please use the standard name format for naming your files, for example 2001q4_20040515_shanklin.jpg.
Visual 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 January 12). 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.
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 comet section director, 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.