Astronomers have identified a brand-new comet named C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS). It will be exciting to see as it approaches the Sun during its perihelion, or closest point in more than a year.
So, it won’t be until 2024 that the comet will be seen glowing brigher then most bright stars in the sky.
A New Brilliant Comet is Found
The comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) was reportedly found on February 22 by the South African Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Late Alert System (ATLAS) telescope project.
Both observatories are listed in the comet’s full name since they separately discovered the comet on January 9 at China’s Purple Mountain Observatory. The object was later discovered by skywatchers all over the globe in both recent and previous pictures, with the initial detection being on December 12, 2022, in images taken by a wide-field camera mounted on a telescope at Palomar Observatory in California.
According to EarthSky, C/2023 A3 is now between Saturn and Jupiter and is moving at a speed of 180,610 miles per hour (290,664 kilometers per hour), or 80.74 kilometers per second, with its closest approach to Earth most likely occurring on October 13, 2024.
When it was found, the comet was still 7.3 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and blazing at a substandard magnitude of 18. Preliminary analysis on the comet’s trajectory indicates that it completes one circle of the Sun every 80,660 years.
It seems that the closest approach to Earth will occur on October 13, 2024, at 05:38 UTC, notwithstanding the possibility that specific details and dates may vary.
When Will It Shine the Brightest?
The comet will reach its perihelion on September 28, 2024, according to EarthSky. Yet this depends on the comet being whole. Being loosely bound spheres of ice, rock, and dust, comets often break apart as they get closer to the Sun and start to heat up.
But, if the comet does not fragment, it may become visible in amateur telescopes in June 2024 before it passes in front of Earth and the Sun as it approaches perihelion. According to Live Science, comet C/2023 A3 may not be visible to many viewers on Earth at the perihelion since it will be low on the eastern horizon.
Nonetheless, it could be seen when it passes by Earth during its ascent into the Solar System. Instead, observers may take in the view in late October as it passes through Serpens Caput and makes its nighttime entry into the Ophiuchus.
It could appear brighter than the recent green comet C/2022 E3 when seen from Earth, according to scientists. According to their calculations, it would be brighter than Venus at its brightest by a factor of 0.7 and might peak at a magnitude of -5. On the scale of stellar brightness, the lower the number, the brighter the object is.
Although there is still much to learn about comet C/2023 A3, astronomers continue to watch it. To determine the rate of the comet’s survival possibilities, further information is required.