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February 2024 comets

February 2024 comets


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12P/Poons-Brooks is certainly the star of February but above all the next couple of months. In fact, starting at perihelion in April, it will reach luminous values ​​from small telescopes, focusing all attention on itself.

12b/ponce brooks

Perigee, scheduled for April 23, is approaching, and the comet's brightness becomes interesting, rising from an initial value of 8th to 7th magnitude. Moreover, since it is easy to explode (the last one occurred during January), 12P may hold up for surprises. Let us therefore diligently follow it, directing our instruments first among the stars of Cygnus, and afterwards among the stars of the unknown lizard. Finally within the borders of Andromeda. It will be best observed in the evening once darkness falls, but can be seen at a slightly lower level even before dawn.

February 12P map. The weakest stars are magnitude 8.

144 F/Kushida

Much lower than expectations for a powerful eighth that crossed the perihelion at the end of last month, 144P, of the tenth magnitude, can be observed with instruments that are not exactly small either due to its quite diffuse appearance. At the very least, its location makes observations convenient because we will be able to search for it comfortably in the early evening within the boundaries of Toro. However, available hours will extend well into the night. On the tenth day, the red star will graze Alpha Aldebaran, while on the twenty-second day, it will pass near a pair of open clusters NGC 1817 and 1807.

Map of 144P in February. The weakest stars are magnitude 10.

62P/Tsouchenshan

62P is depositing now, and is still fairly bright at the beginning of the month when it will shine at a magnitude of about 9.00. It will move within the boundaries of Virgo, remaining practically unchanged in its position, and can be observed at midnight. When we find ourselves in the part of Virgo occupied by the Coma-Virgula cluster, we will see it surrounded by many galaxies, some of which belong to the Messier catalogue, a detail that will give us the opportunity to take a wide shot to obtain wonderful images. .

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Map 62/P in February

C/2021 S3 Panstars

It's a bit of a disappointing forecast considering it's growing less than expected, so much so that the sixth size it was supposed to reach in the spring will likely remain an illusion. Unfortunately, it's realistic to expect a decent eighth size in its place. Meanwhile, in February it should reach the ninth size. It will be in the best observing conditions in the last part of the astronomical night (especially the beginning of the month), where it is initially positioned near Antares, the giant red star Scorpius, heading towards the northern part of the Serpent. Its gradual gain in inclination will increase its height above the horizon, gradually allowing us to anticipate an observing session. It is worth noting the date of February 13, as it will pass at a distance of half a degree from the spherical planet Ophiuchus M9.

2021 S3 map in February. The weakest stars are magnitude 9.


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