Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS, April 8, 2020

Posted by Rod Pommier
on Tuesday, May 5, 2020
This is an image of comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS as it passes through the constellation Camelopardalis. It is inside the orbit of Mars heading towards perihelion in mid-May, 2020. There were predictions that this comet could put on the most spectacular appearance of a comet we've had in decades. However, the comet began to show signs that it was disintegrating. In this image, taken April 8, 2020 GMT, the nucleus of the comet seen withing the blue/green coma is elongated, which is a reliable sign of imminent break up. The Hubble telescope captured the break up of the comet into multiple fragments on April 20, 2020. Besides the elongated nucleus and blue/greencoma, a faint dust tail with slight reddish tinges can be seen trailing behind the comet as it passes through the starry fields of the constellation Camopardalis. Several small, faint galaxies lying approximately 500 million light-years in the distance are visible in the background giving the image an incredible depth of field.

Image data:

Telescope/Mount: Celestron Compustar C14 with Starizona LF reducer/corrector (f/7.5).
Camera: SBIG STL 11000M with Baader Planetarium RGB filters.
Location: Pommier Observatory, Portland, OR, USA
Date/Time: 2020-04-08 ~05:00 UT.
Exposures: R:G:B = 30:35:30 =95 minutes total exposure.
Comet coordinates: RA: 07h:06 minutes, Dec: +67:40

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