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Week 44


Comet of the Week: Ikeya-Seki 1965f

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Special Topic: Kreutz Sungrazers

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OCTOBER 25, 2020: Comet ATLAS C/2020 M3, discovered this past June 27 by the ATLAS survey in Hawaii, will pass through perihelion at a heliocentric distance of 1.268 AU. Comet ATLAS, which is a Halley-type object with an approximate orbital period of 139 years, has been unexpectedly bright (8th magnitude) lately, and may become even …

Perihelion: 1965 October 21.18, q = 0.008 AU  What would prove to be the 20th Century’s brightest comet was discovered on the morning of September 18, 1965 – in a sky recently swept clean by a typhoon – by two Japanese amateur astronomers, Kaoru Ikeya and Tsutomu Seki (both of whom were veteran comet discoverers), independently …

The Great Comet of 1882 – a recent previous “Comet of the Week” – attracted a lot of attention from around the world from both astronomers and the lay public. One of the many interesting facets of this comet had been its very small perihelion distance, just a few hundred thousand km above the solar …