COBS News archive

New Comets C/2022 L1
June 30, 2022

CBET 5134 & MPEC 2022-L97, issued on 2022, June 13, announce that an apparently asteroidal object discovered on June 4 with the 0.68-m Schmidt reflector of the Catalina Sky Survey has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere after the Minor Planet Center posted it to the PCCP webpage on the basis of a comet-like orbit.  The new comet has been designated C/2022 L1 (Catalina).

New Comets C/2022 J1
June 30, 2022

CBET 5121 & MPEC 2022-J88 , issued on 2022, May 11, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) by A. Maury and G. Attard on images obtained with a 0.28-m f/2.2 Schmidt reflector at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, on May 5.  The new comet has been designated C/2022 J1 (Maury-Attard).

Near-sun comet roasted to death
June 16, 2022

Astronomers using a fleet of world leading telescopes on the ground and in space have captured images of a periodic rocky near-Sun comet breaking apart. This is the first time such a comet has been caught in the act of disintegrating and could help explain the scarcity of such periodic near-Sun comets.

Comet Interceptor approved for construction
June 08, 2022

ESA’s Comet Interceptor mission to visit a pristine comet or other interstellar object just starting its journey into the inner Solar System has been ‘adopted’ this week; the study phase is complete and, following selection of the spacecraft prime contractor, work will soon begin to build the mission.

New Comet C/2022 F2 (NEOWISE)
May 31, 2022

CBET 5113 & MPEC 2022-G83, issued on 2022, April 06, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) in infrared exposures obtained during Mar. 30-Apr. 1 UT with the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (or NEOWISE; formerly the WISE earth-orbiting satellite). The new comet has been designated C/2022 F2 (NEOWISE).

New Comet C/2022 F1 (ATLAS)
May 01, 2022

CBET 5112 & MPEC 2022-G82, issued on 2022, April 06, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18.5) on CCD images taken on Mar. 30.3 UT with a 0.5-m f/2 Wright-Schmidt reflector at Rio Hurtado, Chile, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. The new comet has been designated C/2022 F1 (ATLAS).

Hubble Confirms Largest Comet Nucleus Ever Seen
April 12, 2022

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has determined the size of the largest icy comet nucleus ever seen by astronomers. The estimated diameter is approximately 80 miles across, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. The nucleus is about 50 times larger than found at the heart of most known comets. Its mass is estimated to be a staggering 500 trillion tons, a hundred thousand times greater than the mass of a typical comet found much closer to the Sun.

New Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) may reach mag. +6 in Feb. 2023
March 22, 2022

CBET 5111 & MPEC 2022-F13, issued on 2022, March 21, announce the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (magnitude ~17) discovered on CCD images taken on Mar. 2 UT with a  1.2-m f/2.4 Schmidt telescope at Palomar in the course of the  "Zwicky Transient Facility" (ZTF) survey (MPC code I41). Subsequently, it has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2022 E3 (ZTF).

New Comet C/2022 E2 (ATLAS)
March 16, 2022

CBET 5109 & MPEC 2022-E227, issued on 2022, March 15, announce the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (magnitude ~19) discovered on CCD images taken on Mar. 7 UT with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Rio Hurtado, Chile, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. Subsequently, it has been found to show cometary appearance by CCD astrometrists elsewhere after it was posted on the Minor Planet Center's PCCP webpage. The new comet has been designated C/2022 E2 (ATLAS).

Comet 67P’s abundant oxygen more of an illusion, new study suggests
March 15, 2022

When the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft discovered abundant molecular oxygen bursting from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) in 2015, it puzzled scientists. They had never seen a comet emit oxygen, let alone in such abundance. But most alarming were the deeper implications: that researchers had to account for so much oxygen, which meant reconsidering everything they thought they already knew about the chemistry of the early solar system and how it formed.

Comets’ heads can be green, but never their tails. After 90 years, we finally know why
December 22, 2021

A study has solved a 90-year-old mystery by proving the mechanism by which dicarbon -- the chemical that makes some comets' heads green -- is broken up by sunlight. This explains why the vibrant green color never reaches the comet's tail.

What happened to C/2021 A1 (Leonard)?
December 18, 2021

Recently we have observed a rapid change in brightness of comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard). Magnitude of this comet should be strongly enhanced by forward scattering around 14. and 15. December 2021 and the days around this date. However observations indicating possible outburst near this date.

New Comet P/2021 U3 (Attard-Maury)
November 10, 2021

CBET 5064 & MPEC 2021-V21, issued on 2021, November 02, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~19)  by A. Maury and G. Attard on CCD images taken on October 24.3 UT  with the 0.28-m f/2.2 Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt astrograph at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile in the course of the  MAP (W94) survey.  The new comet has been designated P/2021 U3 (Attard-Maury). This is the 4th amateur comet discovery of 2021. It is also the second comet discovered using the synthetic tracking technique (using TYCHO software).

To watch a comet form, a spacecraft could tag along for a journey toward the sun
October 25, 2021

A new article proposes that space probes could hitch a ride with 'centaurs' as they become comets. Along the way, the spacecraft would gather data that would otherwise be impossible to record -- including how comets, Earth-like planets, and even the solar system formed.

New Comet P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS)
October 02, 2021

CBET 5029 & MPEC 2021-R98 , issued on 2021, September 06, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~17) on CCD images taken on August 29.6 UT with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Haleakala, Hawaii, in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program. The new comet has been designated P/2021 Q5 (ATLAS).

New Comet C/2021 Q4 (Fuls)
September 30, 2021

CBET 5028 & MPEC 2021-Q102, issued on 2021, August 31 & September 02, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~20) on CCD images taken on August 26.2 UT with the Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96) 1.5-m reflector. The new comet has been designated C/2021 Q4 (Fuls).

New Comet C/2021 P4 (ATLAS)
August 31, 2021

With the MPEC 2021-Q42 issued on 21 August 2021, the discovery of a new Magn comet is announced. 19.4 identified by the ATLAS-HKO program (T05).

Interstellar comets like Borisov may not be all that rare
August 24, 2021

Astronomers calculate that the Oort Cloud may be home to more visiting objects than objects that belong to our solar system.

New Comet C/2021 O3 (PANSTARRS)
August 05, 2021

CBET xxxx & MPEC 2021-P05, issued on 2021, August 01, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~20) on CCD images taken on July 26.5 UT with the Pan-STARRS1 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien reflector at Haleakala. The new comet has been designated C/2021 O3 (PANSTARRS).

New Comet C/2021 N3 (PANSTARRS)
July 27, 2021

CBET 5003 & MPEC 2021-O39, issued on 2021, July 22, announce the discovery of a new comet (magnitude ~20.5) on CCD images taken on July 13.5 UT with the Pan-STARRS1 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien reflector at Haleakala (numerous pre-discovery observations going back an additional month were later identified). The new comet has been designated C/2021 N3 (PANSTARRS).