Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) may become a great comet
A new comet was discovered back in December 2019 in Hawaii at the large ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System). This large space camera discovered a comet that is rapidly approaching the sun.
Comet ATLAS C/2019 Y4 is now crossing the orbit of Mars and has recently brightened by many magnitudes!
Comets in the historical sense have had some negative attachments pinned on them. Some in history have thought of comets as a portent of doom and gloom!
Modern science tells us a different story as we wait what may be one of the brightest comets in the past decade.
In the most basic sense, comets are the remnants of the creation of the solar system and may have seeded the Earth with the basic components of life.
This theory, the theory of panspermia, offers up some alternative ideas.
Comets are discovered all the time and at the present time; there are many comets which astronomers have orbital data on. Here is just a small example of the comets that are within the realm of Earth.
Located high in the NE sky after sunset, Comet ATLAS C/2019 Y4 is faint binocular and telescope object at magnitude +8.2 and getting brighter by the day.
This comet has the potential to be a very bright object, when it comes within the heat of the Sun, in May of this year.
To learn more about the orbital elements and related facts about this comet, refer to this link.
The best view of the comet will be for those that have a dark sky and a sky which is free of moon light.
The moon will be at its new phase on March 24th, thus offering a decent period of time to view the comet in darkness.
There have been a few “Great Comets” in history. A “Great Comet” is one which is bright enough to be seen easily with the naked eye and with some; bright enough to bee seen in daylight!
Halley’s Comet and the “Great Daylight Comet of 1910” are just a few examples of a “Great Comet”.
Some astronomers believe that the current comet; ATLAS C/2019 Y4, may actually be a chunk of the “Great Comet of 1843”.
At that time, the comet of 1843 had one of the longest tails in recorded history and came at a time, when America experienced one of the the greatest depressions of all time…
This is just one example of the connection of the passage of comets and that of doom and gloom!
Is there a connection?
I think it is just coincidence that the appearance of bright comets are connected to economic conditions, but it makes for interesting research!
Here is the best way to locate the comet in the weeks to come and this site provides some interesting information on how assist you in finding the new comet.
Over the next month, the comet may brighten dramatically, or fizzle out, as many have done in the past.
Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) will come closest to Earth, on May 23rd within a distance of at least 72 million miles of Earth. That is close enough for the comet to be seen in binoculars, etc.
The final act for this comet, will occur on May 31st, when the comet will pass within 23 million miles of the Sun.
If the predictions are accurate, this comet may be as bright as the planet Venus in the evening sky!
Only time will tell!
If you miss this one, it will return in 6,000 years!
Let me know of your success in viewing this interesting object!
To print your own monthly star chart, click here.
To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.
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