Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) will make its closest approach to the Earth on 12 October, at a distance of of 0.47 AU.
From Ashburn on the day of perigee it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 9° above the horizon. It will become visible at around 18:51 (EST), 9° above your western horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 12 minutes after the Sun at 19:46.
The events that comprise the 2024 apparition of C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) are as follows:
|27 Sep 2024||Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) passes perihelion|
|12 Oct 2024||Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) passes perigee|
The table below lists the times when C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) will be visible from Ashburn day-by-day through its apparition:
|21 Sep 2024||Sextans||Not observable|
|23 Sep 2024||Sextans||Visible from 06:37 until 06:39|
Highest at 06:39, 8° above E horizon
|25 Sep 2024||Sextans||Visible from 06:33 until 06:41|
Highest at 06:41, 9° above E horizon
|27 Sep 2024||Sextans||Visible from 06:31 until 06:43|
Highest at 06:43, 10° above E horizon
|29 Sep 2024||Leo||Visible from 06:32 until 06:45|
Highest at 06:45, 10° above E horizon
|01 Oct 2024||Leo||Visible from 06:37 until 06:47|
Highest at 06:47, 10° above E horizon
|03 Oct 2024||Leo||Visible from 06:47 until 06:49|
Highest at 06:49, 8° above E horizon
|05 Oct 2024||Virgo||Not observable|
|07 Oct 2024||Virgo||Not observable|
|09 Oct 2024||Virgo||Not observable|
|11 Oct 2024||Virgo||Not observable|
|13 Oct 2024||Virgo||Visible from 18:49 until 19:33|
Highest at 18:49, 16° above W horizon
|15 Oct 2024||Serpens Caput||Visible from 18:47 until 20:10|
Highest at 18:47, 24° above W horizon
|17 Oct 2024||Serpens Caput||Visible from 18:44 until 20:41|
Highest at 18:44, 30° above SW horizon
|19 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:41 until 21:05|
Highest at 18:41, 35° above SW horizon
|21 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:38 until 21:23|
Highest at 18:38, 38° above SW horizon
|23 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:37 until 21:35|
Highest at 18:37, 40° above SW horizon
|25 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:39 until 21:40|
Highest at 18:39, 42° above SW horizon
|27 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:40 until 21:42|
Highest at 18:40, 42° above SW horizon
|29 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:41 until 21:43|
Highest at 18:41, 43° above SW horizon
|31 Oct 2024||Ophiuchus||Visible from 18:43 until 21:41|
Highest at 18:43, 43° above SW horizon
The chart below shows the path of C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-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.
Based on the magnitude parameters published for this comet by the BAA Comet Section, we estimate that it may be around mag -2 on 12 October 2024. This estimate is based on observations that the BAA has received from amateur astronomers, assuming that its current level of activity will remain constant.
The comet's position at perigee will be:
|Comet C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS)||14h04m20s||1°07'S||Virgo||-2.2|
The coordinates are given in J2000.0.
The sky on 12 Oct 2024
|The sky on 12 October 2024|
10 days old
All times shown in EDT.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
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 05 Sep 2023.
© Andy Roberts 1997. Pictured comet is C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp.