It’s just over 17 months until C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) reaches perihelion, but I’m already quite excited.
C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) is a comet, and if you can recall just how much I enjoyed getting a photo of C/2021 A1 (Leonard), and then you realise that this one could be many orders of magnitude brighter, then maybe you can understand my excitement.
There are always a lot of unknowns and maybes with comets, because we don’t really understand them completely, and they can behave unpredictable, but we should be able to start seeing C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) in about a year from now, and it should actually be quite difficult to miss in September and October next year. Again, nothing set in stone yet, but there are predictions of it having an apparent visual magnitude (brightness) of up to -5 (bright). That’s brighter than Venus in the night sky. And Venus is second only in magnitude to the moon.
There’s always that chance that C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) doesn’t make it: it could fall apart before it gets here. But if everything goes well, in comet terms, we could get quite a show next year.