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).

Our confirmation image (click on the images for a bigger version; made with TYCHO software by D. Parrott)

Stacking of 25 unfiltered exposures, 120 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2022, March 10.3 from X02 (Telescope Live, Chile) through a 0.61-m f/6.5 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with a compact coma about 7" arcsecond in diameter (Observers E. Guido, M. Rocchetto, E. Bryssinck, G. Milani, G. Savini, A. Valvasori).

MPEC 2022-E227 assigns the following orbital elements to comet C/2022 E2 (ATLAS): T 2024 Sep. 16.95; e= 0.99; Peri. =  41.84; q = 3.67 ;  Incl.= 137.13

This comet could reach total magnitude ~13 in late 2024.  Below you can see a graph generated using the software Orbitas and showing the predicted magnitude (in red) versus its elongation from the Sun. As always with comets, the future magnitudes reported here are only indicative.

by Ernesto Guido