940 days ago
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Comets feed
Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is forecast to reach the brightest point in its 2020 apparition on 9 November. At that time, it will lie at a distance of 1.29 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.36 AU from the Earth.
From Fairfield on 9 November it will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible around 22:07, when it reaches an altitude of 21° above your south-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 01:59, 46° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight around 05:24, 26° above your south-western horizon.
The events that comprise the 2020 apparition of C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) are as follows:
|25 Oct 2020||Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) passes perihelion|
|09 Nov 2020||Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) reaches peak brightness|
|14 Nov 2020||Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) passes perigee|
The table below lists the times when C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) will be visible from Fairfield day-by-day through its apparition:
|19 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 02:20 until 05:37|
Highest at 03:58, 26° above S horizon
|21 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 01:59 until 05:49|
Highest at 03:54, 27° above S horizon
|23 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 01:39 until 05:59|
Highest at 03:49, 29° above S horizon
|25 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 01:19 until 06:08|
Highest at 03:44, 31° above S horizon
|27 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 01:01 until 06:10|
Highest at 03:38, 33° above S horizon
|29 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 00:42 until 06:12|
Highest at 03:33, 35° above S horizon
|31 Oct 2020||Lepus||Visible from 00:24 until 06:14|
Highest at 03:27, 37° above S horizon
|02 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 23:06 until 05:16|
Highest at 02:21, 39° above S horizon
|04 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 22:48 until 05:18|
Highest at 02:15, 41° above S horizon
|06 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 22:31 until 05:20|
Highest at 02:09, 44° above S horizon
|08 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 22:13 until 05:23|
Highest at 02:02, 46° above S horizon
|10 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 21:56 until 05:25|
Highest at 01:55, 49° above S horizon
|12 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 21:39 until 05:27|
Highest at 01:48, 51° above S horizon
|14 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 21:21 until 05:29|
Highest at 01:41, 54° above S horizon
|16 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 21:04 until 05:31|
Highest at 01:34, 56° above S horizon
|18 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 20:47 until 05:33|
Highest at 01:26, 59° above S horizon
|20 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 20:30 until 05:35|
Highest at 01:18, 62° above S horizon
|22 Nov 2020||Orion||Visible from 20:13 until 05:37|
Highest at 01:10, 64° above S horizon
|24 Nov 2020||Taurus||Visible from 19:57 until 05:39|
Highest at 01:02, 67° above S horizon
|26 Nov 2020||Taurus||Visible from 19:40 until 05:41|
Highest at 00:54, 69° above S horizon
|28 Nov 2020||Taurus||Visible from 19:24 until 05:43|
Highest at 00:45, 72° above S horizon
A more detailed table of C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)'s position on each night is available here. A diagram of the orbit of C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is available here.
The chart below shows the path of C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) over the course of its apparition, as calculated from the orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC). It is available for download, either on dark background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats, or on a light background, in PNG, PDF or SVG formats. It was produced using StarCharter.
Comets are intrinsically highly unpredictable objects, since their brightness depends on the scattering of sunlight from dust particles in the comet's coma and tail. This dust is continually streaming away from the comet's nucleus, and its density at any particular time is governed by the rate of sublimation of the ice in the comet's nucleus, as it is heated by the Sun's rays. It also depends on the amount of dust that is mixed in with that ice. This is very difficult to predict in advance, and can be highly variable even between successive apparitions of the same comet.
In consequence, while the future positions of comets are usually known with a high degree of confidence, their future brightnesses are not. For most comets, we do not publish any magnitude estimates at all. For the few comets where we do make estimates, we generally prefer the BAA's magnitude parameters to those published by the Minor Planet Center, since they are typically updated more often.
No estimate for the brightness of comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS) is currently available.
The comet's position on 9 November 2020 will be:
|Comet C/2020 M3 (ATLAS)||05h22m00s||2°11'S||Orion||8.2|
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
The sky on 09 Nov 2020
|The sky on 09 November 2020|
24 days old
All times shown in EST.
This event was automatically generated on the basis of orbital elements published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) , and is updated whenever new elements become available. It was last updated on 19 Feb 2023.
© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.