2020 April 16


Comet ATLAS Breaks Up
Image Credit & Copyright:
Milen Minev (Bulgarian Inst. of Astronomy and NAO Rozhen), Velimir Popov, Emil Ivanov (Irida Observatory)

Explanation: Cruising through the inner solar system, Comet ATLAS C2019/Y4 has apparently fragmented. Multiple separate condensations within its diffuse coma are visible in this telescopic close-up from April 12, composed of frames tracking the comet’s motion against trailing background stars. Discovered at the end of December 2019, this comet ATLAS showed a remarkably rapid increase in brightness in late March. Northern hemisphere comet watchers held out hope that it would become a bright nake-eye comet as it came closer to Earth in late April and May. But fragmenting ATLAS is slowly fading in northern skies. The breakup of comets is not uncommon though. This comet ATLAS is in an orbit similar to the Great Comet of 1844 (C/1844 Y1) and both may be fragments of a single larger comet.

Tomorrow’s picture: The Starmill

Milen Minev (Bulgarian Inst. of Astronomy and NAO Rozhen ), Velimir Popov, Emil Ivanov ( Irida Observatory )

说明:目前正穿过太阳系内围的阿特拉斯彗星(C2019/Y),很明显发生了裂解。彗星发生分裂其实并非罕见。如同这幅摄于4月12日,追踪彗星相对于背景恒星运动的望远镜特写影像所示,可见到多个包裹在弥漫彗发里的凝结。发现于2019年底的阿特拉斯彗星,在3月底时,亮度急速增加。因此,北半球的彗星观测者屏息以待,希望它在4月底至5月接近地球时,会成为肉眼可见的彗星。然而事与愿违,崩解中的阿特拉斯彗星,在北半球天空的亮度反而慢慢下降。阿特拉斯彗星的轨道和1844年大彗星(C/1844 Y1)很相近,因此,二者或许是一颗更大彗星的碎片。

明日的图片:The Starmill