Director: Nick James
Nov 10 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 11 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Nov 12 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 13 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 17 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 18 Discovery of 2018 VN2 (P/Leonard) reported Nov 18 Worachate Boonplod reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C3 images Nov 18 Worachate Boonplod reports a non-group comet in real time C3 images Nov 19 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Nov 20 Discovery of 2018 U1 (Lemmon) reported Nov 20 Masanori Uchina reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 22 Hanjie Tan reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C2 images Nov 22 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Nov 24 Hanjie Tan reports two Kreutz group comets in real time C2 images Nov 26 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 26 Rainer Kracht reports a non-group comet in real time C2 images Nov 27 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Nov 29 2017 TW13 (P/Lemmon) discovered to be cometary Nov 29 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 01 Discovery of 2018 V2 (ATLAS) reported Dec 01 Discovery of A/2018 V3 reported Dec 01 Discovery of 2018 V4 (Africano) reported Dec 01 Discovery of A/2018 W1 reported Dec 01 Worachate Boonplod and Hanjie Tan report a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 01 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 03 Discovery of 2018 W2 (Africano) reported Dec 04 Worachate Boonplod reports a Marsden group comet in real time C2 images Dec 05 Hanjie Tan reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C2 images Dec 06 Recovery of 2005 GF8 (P/LONEOS) as 2018 X1 reported Dec 06 Worachate Boonplod reports a Kreutz group comet in real time C3 images Dec 06 Rainer Kracht reports a Kreutz comet in real time C2 images Dec 07 Rainer Kracht reports a non-group comet in real time C2 images Dec 09 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 46P/Wirtanen 4.5 bright 65 N to 55 S best evening 2018 December Machholz-Fuji*-Iwa* (2018 V1) 9 fade Poor elongation 2018 December ATLAS (2018 L2) 9 steady 85 N to 25 N early evening 2018 December 38P/Stephan-Oterma 10 steady 90 N to 45 S best morning 2018 December 64P/Swift-Gehrels 10 fade 90 N to 35 S all night 2018 December PanSTARRS (2016 M1) 10.5 fade 25 S to 55 S all night 2018 September PanSTARRS (2016 R2) 10.5 varies 90 N to 10 N early pm & morning 2018 November PanSTARRS (2016 N6) 12.5 steady 55 N to 55 S morning 2018 December PanSTARRS (2017 S3) 13 fade? 85 N to 5 N morning 2018 November 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 13 ? varies 60 N to 45 S evening 2018 December 78P/Gehrels 13 bright 50 N to 45 S evening 2018 October 21P/Giacobini-Zinner 13 fade 20 N to 55 S all night 2018 NovemberThe 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, which may apply to only one object, 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 2018 December 1]. The dotted lines represent 99% confidence limits. 38P, 46P, 2018 L2, 2018 V1.
Comet magnitude parameters [ updated 2018 December 5].
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 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, Werner Hasubick, Kevin Hills, Nick James, 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 Johan Warrell 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.