Bright Comet in May?

We may have something to distract ourselves from the Corona virus pandemic ahead! Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) is brightening much more quickly than predicted. In early May as it makes its approach to the Sun, it will appear in the evening sky about 30 degrees to the right of Venus. By late May it will have swung by the sun and appear in the morning sky near the Sun in the east.

The animation below shows the location of the comet in the northwestern sky from April 24 until May 23, 2020. It is predicted to brighten from 6th magnitude (not quite visible) to brighter than 1st magnitude during this period.

The comet is predicted to brighten throughout the month of May passing by the sun in late May. The best views are likely in the first half of May, before it gets too close to the sun. After May 31 it will be visible in the East-North-East sky before 6 AM The chart below from The Sky Live - Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS)page, shows the predicted magnitude of the comet.

You can follow the latest visual magnitude observations at the COBSsite yourself.

Content created: 2020-03-20 and last modified: 2020-04-02

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