On December 16, 2019, an unknown object with a brightness of only 17.9 magnitude was discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System program. The comet, later named C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS), was then more than 260 million kilometers from our central star.
The comet's popularity didn't really benefit from the fact that C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), discovered a few days later, received almost all the attention, and my own experience was that a lot of amateur astronomers mixed the two because of the one-character difference. The comet came close to the Sun on March 15, 2020, and its maximum brightness was predicted for roughly this period. More optimistic estimates predicted a maximum brightness of about 7.7 magnitude.
In early April 2020, the dice turned. The comet's "big brother" was torn to pieces by comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), which was active at an excessively fast pace in March, and all optimistic dreams were shattered. At the time of the dreams, we even found that C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS) fell short of expectations during its perihelion in March and then, despite approaching Earth, gradually faded in the first half of April.
The celestials then served a surprise for us: in mid-April, the comet, which had hitherto been pushed into the background, produced an outburst with almost an entire magnitude brightness. I took this photo ten days after the outburst, when it was still bright enough and had a well-visible tail.
By the way, I also used that night to capture the unfortunately very diffuse and faint comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). Due to the uncharacteristic appearance of the coma, I decided not to publish the photo separately, but it can be viewed here for those interested.
C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)
R.A. 02 h 25 m 52 s Dec. +78° 31′ 22″
Distance from Sun:
170 million km
Distance from Earth:
167 million km
Coma: 6'; tail: 13' (PA 5°)
26/04/2020 23:23-00:37 UT
Total exposure time:
Tápióbicske, Pest, Hungary
Canon EOS 1300D (modified)
Home-made 200/800 mm Newtonian reflector
Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro GoTo
Sky-Watcher f/4 coma corrector
Focal ratio, length:
f/4, 800 mm
60 x 60 s
Astro Pixel Processor, PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop