C/2019 Y4 Atlas, the comet of 2020? – an image (11 Mar. 2020)

We continue monitoring comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas, which hopefully will be visible by naked eye next April and May. While we remember that comets are unpredictable, we continue our coverage of C/2019 Y4.

Comet C/2019 Y4 (Atlas): 11 Mar. 2020

Comet C/2019 Y4 (Atlas): 11 Mar. 2020

The image above comes from the average of 19, 180-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. The robotic telescope tracked the apparent motion of comet C/2019 Y4, so stars left trails on the background. The image scale is 1.2″/pixel.

As we can see, the comet developed quite a lot in the ~20 days following our previous image: now, C/2019 Y4 Atlas is much brighter and if you look at the image above you can see it has a large coma and a ion tail pointing on the right.

As we mentioned, this comet could be connected to the Great Comet C/1844 Y1, perhaps two fragments of the same parent body. We will see what will happen  in the next weeks and will learn if the comet will perform well next May, despite it will be at low solar elongation around the expected peak in brightness.

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