Comet SWAN (C/2020 F8) is Brightening Rapidly

Bright green comet SWAN C/2020 F8 photographed by Hazarry of PABD (Canon EOS 7D Mark II Stacked 20×15 Sec ISO 1600, Astro-Tech AT72ED 72mm f/6 ED refractor, Unguided)

UPDATE (Thursday, 07 May 2020): A possible naked-eye outburst of Comet SWAN! Despite of bright moonlight and thin clouds, Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) is still visible from Brunei just before nautical twilight today, May 07, 2020 at 0520. The greenish coma is due to molecules of Cyanogen and Carbon gas ejected from the comet nucleus. In the following days, the comet is located very low on the Eastern horizon in early morning twilight, before it fades in full daylight next week.

Another comet observer, Abdul Waliyuddin, a member of Brunei Darussalam Astronomical Society (PABD), managed to capture the beautiful Comet Swan as it makes its way through our solar system. Waliyuddin said “The pre-dawn skies of Seria gave way to a clear view of the celestial ceiling this morning. It was spewing a tail of gas and dust that can extend up to hundreds of millions of kilometres away from its epicenter from Seria, Belait, Brunei Darussalam”

Comet SWAN was only discovered two months ago. There is much to be understood and learned from our skies. Whatever science tells us about the biology of our fingers will always be lesser than the true reality of the wonders of our finger. Likewise, whatever we know about our skies will always be lesser than the actual existential reality of the grandeur of space.

Comet SWAN from Seria, Brunei Darussalam, on May 7, 2020. Photographed by Waliyuddin of PABD (Captured using a Skywatcher Evostar 100ED DS APO Refractor Telescope with a Canon EOS 6D at 30s exposure ISO1250)

Wednesday, 06 May 2020: A green glowing fuzzy ball of Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN is unexpectedly bright with obvious tail at dawn today, May 06, 2020, from Brunei Darussalam. Currently in the constellation Pisces, the comet is visible in the twilight Eastern horizon from Brunei Darussalam until mid-May. Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN is at magnitude 6 (just visible to the unaided eye) under dark sky conditions, which is an easy target for digital camera and binoculars.

A total of 100 seconds exposure photograph of comet C/2020 F8 SWAN from Brunei visible despite of cloudy twilight sky.

Friday, May 1, 2020, Bandar Seri Begawan – As Comet ATLAS disintegrates, Comet SWAN arrives. This was a single 8-second exposure photograph of Comet SWAN through a small refractor telescope taken on Friday, May 01, 2020 at 5:12 a.m. under cloudy condition from Tutong, Brunei Darussalam.

At the moment, naked eyes can see the comet only as a green fuzzball, with developing mini-tail, in the constellation Cetus and located above the East-Southeast horizon at predawn. By comparing the surrounding stars in the sky chart, the Comet is approximately at magnitude less than 6 which is just bright enough to be spotted by the human eye under dark sky or through a binocular for light polluted sky.

Image by Hazarry of PABD
Star chart and location of Comet SWAN on May 01, 2020 for magnitude comparison with the actual photo above.

Much about Comet SWAN remains unknown. It was discovered just a few weeks ago, on April 11, 2020, when a sudden gases dump by the comet has made it show up in data from the spacecraft’s hydrogen-detecting instrument known as the Solar Wind Anistropies (SWAN).

Astronomers expect comet SWAN continues to become brighter as it moves towards the Sun (perihelion – on May 27, 2020 at 0.43 Astronomical Units); and more visible as it approaches closest to Earth on May 13, 2020 at 0.57 Astronomical Units, or 85,065,197 km.

Cometary luminosity is very hard to predict and no guarantees, as seen by what’s happened to Comet Atlas. But if the comet vaporizes well by sunlight and produces enough ejected gas and dust particles of tails, it would put the comet bright enough to be seen with the naked eyes.

How to spot comet SWAN from Brunei?

All eyes on the pre dawn sky for the brightening comet this coming weeks from early May until mid-May from Brunei. It will be best view at around 4.30 am when the comet rises on the Eastern horizon, but you’ll need an unobstructed horizon to observe the icy cosmic body. Use the sky chart below to locate the position of the comet in the sky. Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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Daily Local path of Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) from Brunei Darussalam at around 5 a.m. from May 01 until 17, 2020

For more update of this comet: and Use the ephemeris of the
Comet for Brunei Darussalam from May 01 until June 30, 2020, to locate the comet below:

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