Analysis of Comet Apparitions

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During the perihelion passage 2023/24 comet 62P/Tsuchinshan (P=6.17a) should become an object visible even in small instruments. It will pass perihelion on Dec. 25, 2023 at the distance of 1.26 AU and will be situated quite close to Earth during a long period (perigee at a distance of 0.50 AU will be reached on Jan. 30, 2024). The comet is expected to peak at 8.0-9.0 mag. It should remain brighter than 16 mag between October 2023 and April 2024. During this period it will move from the western part of the constellation Gemini to the northwestern part of the constellation Virgo. Thus the comet will be an object in the morning sky at first, getting an object visible during the whole night during winter 2023/24 and will eventually switch to the evening sky.

At the end of October 2023 the number of published observations of this comet is still too small for an authoritative prediction. The only facts are its magnitude of 12.0 mag it reached during the last October week and the high activity the comet showed during past apparitions. Thus it is still plausible to assume a maximum brightness of 8-9 mag.

Andreas Kammerer