Whether it’s a surprise asteroid, colorful aurora or a heart-stopping eclipse, the landscape of the night sky is constantly changing. When a new visitor appears in view, it’s guaranteed to grab the attention of professional astronomers and casual sky gazers alike. Well, consider the Hubble Space Telescope the paparazzi of the sky, as it’s managed to snap the closest images yet of the sky’s latest visitor to make headlines, comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), after it passed by the Sun.
Comet NEOWISE is considered the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere since 1997’s Hale-Bopp. It’s estimated to be traveling at a whopping 40 miles per second, or 144,000 miles per hour. The comet’s closest approach to the Sun took place on July 3 and it’s now heading back to the outer parts of the solar system, not to pass through again for another 7,000 years or so.
New Comet C/2020 O2 (Amaral)
August 03, 2020
CBET 4822 & MPEC 2020-P10, issued on 2020, August 02, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) by Leonardo S. Amaral (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) on three 60-s CCD exposures taken on July 23 with a 0.3-m f/4 reflector. The new comet has been designated C/2020 O2 (Amaral).
Comet NEOWISE Sizzles as It Slides by the Sun, Providing a Treat for Observers
July 11, 2020
Catch the comet in the morning sky until July 11, after which you can find it just after sunset until mid-August.
A Comet Visitor and a Pretty Metal Moon
July 10, 2020
Want to see a comet? If you live in the northern hemisphere, use binoculars to look low in the northeastern sky before sunrise for comet NEOWISE—formally C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE).
4,000th comet discovered by ESA and NASA Solar Observatory
June 19, 2020
On June 15, 2020, a citizen scientist spotted a never-before-seen comet in data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO -- the 4,000th comet discovery in the spacecraft's 25-year history.
ZWO ASI Camera type keys
June 08, 2020
In order to unify the camera type abbreviation keys of all ZWO ASI camera models, we had to change some of the currently used camera type keys.
New Comet C/2020 K7 (PANSTARRS)
June 04, 2020
CBET 4790 & MPEC 2020-L09, issued on 2020, June 02, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~20) in four 45-s w-band CCD images obtained with the Pan-STARRS1 1.8-m Ritchey-Chretien reflector at Haleakala. The new comet has been designated C/2020 K7 (PANSTARRS).
Solar Orbiter to pass through the tails of Comet ATLAS
May 31, 2020
ESA's Solar Orbiter will cross through the tails of Comet ATLAS during the next few days. Although the recently launched spacecraft was not due to be taking science data at this time, mission experts have worked to ensure that the four most relevant instruments will be switched on during the unique encounter.
New Comet C/2020 K3 (Leonard)
May 26, 2020
CBET 4782 & MPEC 2020-K159, issued on 2020, May 25, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) by G. J. Leonard on images taken on May 22 UT with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt reflector. The new comet has been designated C/2020 K3 (Leonard).
New Comet P/2019 LM4 (Palomar)
May 17, 2020
CBET 4775 & MPEC 2020-J68, issued on 2020, May 14, announce that an apparently asteroidal object discovered on images taken at Palomar on 2019 June 4 and 7 with the 1.2-m f/2.4 Schmidt telescope (and given the minor-planet designation 2019 LM_4 when published on MPS 1001527, along with observations made elsewhere on June 8) has been re-discovered showing cometary appearance at two other observatories. The new comet has been designated P/2019 LM4 (Palomar).
New comet discovered by solar observatory
May 14, 2020
In late May and early June, Earthlings may be able to glimpse Comet SWAN. The comet is currently faintly visible to the unaided eye in the Southern Hemisphere just before sunrise. The new comet was first spotted in April 2020, by an amateur astronomer named Michael Mattiazzo using data from the SOHO satellite.
New Comet C/2020 J1 (SONEAR)
May 08, 2020
CBET 4769 & MPEC 2020-J37, issued on 2020, May 04, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) on images taken with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph of the "Southern Observatory for Near Earth Research" (SONEAR) at Oliveira, Brazil, on May 1 . The new comet has been designated C/2020 J1 (SONEAR).
New Comet C/2020 H6 (ATLAS)
May 08, 2020
CBET 4768 & MPEC 2020-J23, issued on 2020, May 03, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18.5) on individual images from taken on Apr. 22 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 C/2020 H6 (ATLAS).
New Comet C/2020 H2 (Pruyne)
April 29, 2020
CBET 4761 & MPEC 2020-H220, issued on 2020, April 28, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16.5) by Theodore A. Pruyne on four 30-s CCD exposures taken with the Catalina Sky Survey's 0.68-m Schmidt telescope. The new comet has been designated C/2020 H2 (PRUYNE).
Hubble captures breakup of comet ATLAS
April 29, 2020
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has provided astronomers with the sharpest view yet of the breakup of Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). The telescope resolved roughly 30 fragments of the fragile comet on April 20 and 25 pieces on April 23.
Hubble probes Alien Comet's Chemical makeup
April 22, 2020
Astronomers have uncovered more than 4,000 planets that orbit stars outside our solar system. But they have few details on the planets' chemical makeup and how they were assembled inside a swirling disk of rock and ice encircling their stars.
The stars are too far away for us ever to visit them and see the planet-making recipe close-up.
Now, a sample from a distant star system has landed in our solar system's back yard. Comet Borisov, the first vagabond comet ever to enter our solar system, offers chemical clues to the composition of an object born around another star. Comets are made of gas, ice, and dust that are part of a planet's building blocks.
Borisov's unusual abundance of carbon monoxide, as gleaned through Hubble ultraviolet spectroscopic observations, is largely unlike comets belonging to our solar system. Researchers say this abundance points to the comet originating from a circumstellar disk around a class of star called a cool red dwarf.
New Comet P/2020 G1 (Pimentel)
April 18, 2020
CBET 4754 & MPEC 2020-H06, issued on 2020, April 17, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~15) by Eduardo Pimentel on CCD images taken by Jacques, Pimentel, and J. Barros with a 0.28-m f/2.2 astrograph of the "Southern Observatory for Near Earth Research" (SONEAR) at Oliveira, Brazil. The new comet has been designated P/2020 G1 (Pimentel).
New Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN)
April 14, 2020
CBET 4750 & 4752 & MPEC 2020-G94, issued on 2020, April 13, announce the discovery of a comet (total magnitude ~8.5) by M. Mattiazzo in the low-resolution public website hydrogen Lyman-alpha images obtained with the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) camera on the Solar and Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft. The new comet has been designated C/2020 F8 (SWAN).
New Comet C/2020 F5 (MASTER)
April 09, 2020
CBET 4746 & MPEC 2020-G73, issued on 2020, April 08, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~15.8) in images taken with the "Mobile Astronomical System of the Telescope-Robots" (MASTER) auto-detection system (0.40-m f/2.5 reflector) near San Juan, Argentina. Additional pre-discovery observations from Mar. 17.0 UT (mag 15.8-15.9), Mar. 22.0 (mag 15.8), and Mar. 23.0 (mag 15.7-15.8) were found on images taken with the MASTER 0.40-m reflector at the South African Astronomical Observatory (Sutherland). The new comet has been designated C/2020 F5 (MASTER).
Moravian Instruments Camera type keys
April 04, 2020
In order to unify the camera type abbreviation keys of all Moravian instrument models, we had to change some of the currently used camera type keys.