Comet prospects for 2014
2013 November 29
At present 2014 does not offer much for the visual observer in the way of returning periodic comets, with the most interesting being 209P/LINEAR, which could reach 11th magnitude when it passes 0.06 au from the Earth in May. Two comets at perihelion in 2013 may still be naked eye objects at the beginning of 2014. 2012 K1 (PanSTARRS) may reach 6th magnitude after its August perihelion, but is unfortunately a morning object. Martians will have the spectacle of a Great Comet in October.
These predictions focus on comets that are likely to be within range of visual observers. Members are encouraged to make visual magnitude estimates, particularly of periodic comets, as long term monitoring over many returns helps understand their evolution. Guidance on visual observation and how to submit estimates is given in the BAA Observing Guide to Comets. Drawings are also useful, as the human eye can sometimes discern features that initially elude electronic devices.
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