Comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas: analysis of the 7 Apr. 2020 images

We managed to analyze our 7 Apr. 2020 images of comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas, to follow-up the possible disruption event of its nucleus.

Comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas: analysis from 07 Apr. 2020 images

Comet C/2019 Y4 Atlas: analysis from 07 Apr. 2020 images

The images used in the panel above come from the median combination of 15, 180-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at Virtual Telescope. The telescope tracked the apparent motion of the comet and images were stacked using the orbit of the comet, to provide the best accuracy. Image scale is 0.63″/pixel. Full Moon, so very bright sky.

Pseudo-colors were used to make subtle differences more evident. The image of the left was not processed at all, to show the situation “as it is”: apparently, there are luminosity changes along the elongated inner coma of the object, as for the presence of “knots”. The image on the right was processed via unsharp masking, to extract those features stronger.

Finally, a vertical box, including the region of interest, was created and brightness plotted, with evidence of those “knots”. Note that the bootom end of the vertical box is plotted on the right of the graph, so while you move along the vertical box from bottom to the top, the graph runs from right to left.

Unfortunately, these potential features are at the detection limit of the images, so in order to confirm or deny them images from larger telescopes are highly desirable.

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