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C/2020 R4 ATLAS

2 weeks 4 days ago #110180 by Fermidox
C/2020 R4 ATLAS was created by Fermidox
Between 1 and 2am this morning, April 22nd, I observed said comet in Hercules, rising in the east. Seeing was not perfect with intermittent high cloud and with a bright skyglow due to a 10 day moon in Leo, declining in the west. The comet was discovered by the ATLAS survey last September, its 53rd discovery, and has actually undergone a brightness surge making it visible in medium telescopes.

Perihelion was on March 1st at some 95 million miles, and closest approach to Earth is tomorrow at 46 million miles. I estimated its mag at 10 this morning, but most reports are putting it closer to 9, and with optimal conditions that might well be true. I did get a DSLR image where it is barely visible above the background, but this image by Michael Jager gives a better idea. Not exactly a spectacular object but my 38th comet nevertheless. It has an orbital period of 934 years.

During my hour or so observing I also spotted... 2 Lyrids, one of which was a 'face-on' spark reminiscent of others I've seen from this particular shower. The Lyrids are believed to have the longest history in terms of observed meteor showers, although I'd have to say my own experience of them has been fairly underwhelming.

Continued clear skies,
Finbarr, Limerick.
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2 weeks 3 days ago #110184 by Neill
Replied by Neill on topic C/2020 R4 ATLAS
C/2020 R4 (ATLAS) is mag +9 and makes its closest approach to Earth on the 23rd. It starts the month in Aquila before moving into Hercules, Corona Borealis, Bootes before ending the month in Canes Venatici. At the start of the month, it is visible from 03:00, by mid-month from 23:00 and by month’s end, it is visible as soon as darkness falls.

It lies near to Eta (η) Aquilae, mag +3.9 on the morning of the 1st. It lies near to Delta (δ) Aquilae, mag +3.4 on the morning of the 7th. On the evening of the 19th, it lies near to Sarin (Delta (δ) Herculis, mag +3.1). On the evening of the 25th, it lies between Nusakan (Beta (β) Coronae Borealis, mag +3.7) and Delta (δ) Bootis, mag +3.5). Finally on the evening of the 30th, it lies near to the globular cluster - M3.

Linda: "All in all, this is one day Mittens the kitten won't soon forget."
Morbo: "Kittens give Morbo gas."
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2 weeks 3 days ago #110188 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic C/2020 R4 ATLAS
Hi Finbarr and Neill,

Very many thanks for updating us on this comet. With Hercules nicely positioned from my back garden at the moment you've given me a great reason to try and find this comet for myself. Also, congratulations to you Finbarr on observing your 38th comet - bravo! 

Clear skies,

Darren.
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2 weeks 2 days ago #110190 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic C/2020 R4 ATLAS
Hear! Hear!

38 comets is truly remarkable for one individual Irish astronomer. 

Heartfelt congratulations to you, Finbarr. 
Maybe some night you reach 100!

Clear skies from Aubrey.   
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