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C/2020 F8 (SWAN)

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nickjames's picture
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C/2020 F8 (SWAN)

Given my record with comets I'm reluctant to mention the fact that we *might* have a nice dawn comet available from the UK starting around the middle of May. Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) is currently naked eye from the southern hemisphere with a long tail. Have a look at some of the images in our archive here. The comet is still too far south for us but on May 15 it will be 6 degrees above the NE horizon at 02:30UTC (approximately the start of nautical twilight) for observers in southern England. It will be more of a challenge the further north you are. It may be 3rd magnitude by then with a nice tail or it may not be. The comet climbs a bit through May as it moves through Triangulum and into Perseus.  On May 20 the comet is close to Algol.

It the comet gets bright it may be a reasonably easy object if you have a good horizon. I'll put more details on the Comet Section page once we know how it is likely to perform.

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Swan on SWAN

I look forward to this one meeting expectations: Gideon van Buitenen forecasts it reaching m1=2.5 at perihelion; Jon has it a little dimmer.

There must be a way of exploiting my surname if this does become a significant object and enters the news. Presumably the tabloids would appreciate my commenting on the matter, purely by virtue of my name not knowledge of the matter at hand?

nickjames's picture
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That's not the way it works

That's not the way it works David. I'm the Director so I take credit if it turns out well. As a Mr. Swan you can take the blame if it fizzles!

BTW the Sun (newspaper not star) is already hyping it and it appears to have its own Twitter account.

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Swan

I hope you have copyrighted your surname, David.

Just be careful you don't fizzle out! Otherwise you might have to change your name by deed poll.

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Swan

Oh no you are doing it again Nick :-( - break up coming!!

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Comet Swan

If the  media have hold of the Comet's  whereabouts and run  with it as a Hyped  story.  We are Doomed Mr Mannering Doomed.However  better to look on the bright  side and set our alarms for  some  early  wake ups in the hope that   our Luck may  turn  at last.   Stay safe  every one

Nick 2E0LUN's picture
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F8 Swan

Nick Evetts 20LUN. C/2020 F8 Swan, 2020/05/01 08:26:49 UTCChile 2 Wide-Field, Santa Martina Observatory, Observatory code W88, North is Up East is Left.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/evetts_family/49840051348/in/dateposted/ I've had to post a link to the Image as its over 2MB,, Denis I  emailed you an original copy of it !

 

Denis Buczynski's picture
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Hi Nick(Evetts) too many

Hi Nick(Evetts) too many Nicks around the the Comet Section, better to have a distinctive name.Your excellent image of C/2020F8 is in the BAA Comet Archive at this link:

https://britastro.org/cometobs/2020f8/2020f8_20200501_nevetts.jpg

Let us hope that the weather cooperates as the comet climbs higher into northern skies. It would be good if the comet had an outburst of dust to help visibilty, at present it is a gassy comet which means low contrast in bright skies. I am not sure about any effect of forward scattering in the comet/ earth/ sun geometry, perhaps there will be some enhancement due to that effect. I hope we don't get lots of "I was dissapointed with this comet" comments like we have had with C/2019Y4. OK this comet has not (as yet) lived up to the show that its 1844 counterpart put on but the chance for us to watch the slow crumbling of this comet as it approaches perihelion has been fascinating and my thoughts about observing this series of events have been anything but a feeling of disapointment. Even now after the fragmentation events of April the comet is slowly brightening again. Keep watching is my advice, don't take you eye off the ball that is C/2019Y4 ATLAS!

 

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Predicting the future...

I'm just resurrecting this thread since it started with a post from me on May 2nd tentatively predicting a nice comet for around about now but with, hopefully, sufficient caveats that members wouldn't be disappointed if it fizzled. The first post in the thread included a chart for May 20 and this morning I managed to get an image here which matches the field if not the splendour. C/2020 F8 is probably somewhere between mag 6 and 7 at the moment and it is certainly not an easy object but it is there and if you are up early it is worth searching out. It goes under the pole at midnight on May 26 and from then on it will be better in the evening but it is now fading. Images received will appear in the Comet Section archive here.

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Too many threads

Sorry Nick. I am happy for you to delete 'my' thread to focus all the stuff here.